Talking about prehistoric art, it includes three basic eras naming Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic. But, the most amazing and oldest prehistoric art is the cave painting. Most of this work can be seen at Lascaux, Chauvet, and Altamira.
A brief history of arts is discussed below to give you an idea that how the art came into the oldest civilizations and how it managed to reach on to us.
Paleolithic—Ubirr Aboriginal Artworks (25,000 BCE)
Some of the rock art examples include ochre at the Apollo 11 Cave (from 25,500 BCE) in Namibia and the animal figure paintings in charcoal. Moreover, the hand stencil images at the Cuevas de las Manos(Cave of the Hands) (from 9500 BCE) and the Bradshaw paintings (from 17,000 BCE) in Western Australia are some of the other examples of prehistoric art.
Mesolithic Art (c.10,000-4,000 BCE)
Mesolithic art is more about human figures, which provides keen observations and narrative through the paintings. When cavemen moved outside the caves, they started to build sculptures. Other forms of Mesolithic artworks relate to rock paintings, bracelets, painted pebbles, and drawings on the ancient pottery.
Neolithic Art (c.4,000-2,000 BCE)
The Neolithic era was more settled, which exhibited growth in crafts such as weaving and pottery. This civilization relates to the Yangtze and Yellow river valleys in China (c.7,500 BCE). After a few centuries, it spread out to the Tigris and Euphrates river valleys in the Middle East (c.7,000.
Apart from depicting nature, the focus of this type of art was on decoration and ornamentation. For instance, calligraphy, which is one of the most popular forms of Chinese art comes from this period. Primitive jewelry and a variety of artifacts were the major types of art forms in this era.
History of Bronze Age Art (In Europe: 3000-1200 BCE)
The Bronze Age art belongs to the rise of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Greece. The development of more sophisticated tools led to the creation of portable and monumental artworks. Egypt is surely the greatest civilization which gave birth to ancient art. It relates to the adoption of a more recognizable style of art.
Egyptians painted the head, feet, eye, shoulders, arms, and legs of humans. There was a clear difference regarding the depiction of Pharaohs, Gods, and ordinary people. These differences included color, elements as size, and figurative position.
Minoan Art (c.2100-1425 BCE)
The roots of Minoan’s art can be seen in the Knossos, Phaestus, Kato Zakros, Akrotiri, and Mallia. These architectures used a combination of mud-brick, stone, and plaster. The architects decorated these structures with fresco pictures, animal symbols, and colorful murals.
Stone carvings were also a part of Minoan art including precious metalwork. Minoan craftsmen were also famous for their vase-painting and ceramics, featuring a variety of maritime and marine motifs. The main focus of artists was events and nature rather than rulers and deities.
Ancient Greek Art (c.1100-100 BCE)
The Greek art includes the following periods, during which major progress in the field of art was seen.
- The Dark Ages (c.1100-900 BCE)
- The Geometric Period (c.900-700 BCE)
- The Oriental-Style Period (c.700-625 BCE)
- The Archaic Period (c.625-500 BCE)
- The Classical Period (c.500-323 BCE)
- The Hellenistic Period (c.323-100 BCE)
The ruins of Greek architecture is the major source of prehistoric artwork. This is so, as most of the artwork has been destroyed as a result of natural calamities.