Museum of the Origins of Man



TWO-DIMENSIONAL DEPICTION OF MOVEMENT IN THE UPPER PALEOLITHIC ART




During the Paleolithic, man feeded meat and vegetables as today.
He procured to himself meat hunting, while he was looking for vegetables in competition with other herbivorous animals.
The hunt tooks place in competition with other predatory animals, which were not few, and everyone, including humans, had their own strategies.
Herbivorous animals, object of hunting, seeing the man, escaped, because they knew they could be his prey, as they knew they could be prey for other carnivores.
The man in the different regions had different hunting strategies and different weapons, but man knew each habit about animals that he hunted.
The animals ran faster than they could because the man was their enemy. It is likely that the representations of movement of animals in race are to put in relation with the difficulties to capture them.
However, the movement of the images was a feature of two-dimensional art, not just of the hunters of the Palaeolithic period, but also of post-Paleolithic peoples hunters, which then added in paintings the human figure always in motion.
From a perspective of the typology of art, movement is important as prevailing. But in two-dimensional paleolithic art there are even representations of animals without movement, which on the walls of the caves appear to be "dead fly".



Fig. F41) Painting with bulls and horses in race on a cave wall.
Material culture: Magdalenian (upper Paleolithic).
Lascaux Cave (France).
Note the elegant stylistic deformation of wild animals and the great effectiveness of the movement of the bull (maybe a female) and of the racing horses.
Remarkable also the "abstract" sign facing the bull.





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