Sunday, January 10, 2016

Charcoal and Ochre, Rough Stone, and html Code, a Truly Sublime Mix :)


 Crawling through a dim, damp, constricted space is not usually associated with creating or viewing great Art. However, to see some of the earliest masterworks ever produced, 2 Dimensional statements of remarkable beauty, mystery, and power one has to go into caves in Southern Europe - or at the very least, view the photos or videos by others who've done this for us so that we can get a glimpse from a distance of something very special. 
There is a great deal to experience and understand about this pre-historic Art. For one thing, there are many caves in which it has been found, and a great many images produced over many, many years. We are talking here about images that today's experts feel were created roughly 15,000 to 30,000 years ago. Importantly, it is the abundance of this Art and the persistence and consistency with which it was done that reveals to us that this was a true cultural phenomenon. Clearly, making this Art was important to the people who created and viewed it and clearly it must have had high value to them - meaning, as well.  One of the wonderful things about this for us Art lovers of the 21st Century, though, is that while our eyes and hearts are dazzled by these works, we really don't know what they meant to the people for whose society they were so important. For me, that mystery adds some spice - one of those enhancements of taste that colors your experience precisely because you can't quite pin down for yourself exactly what it is, and how it works.

There are a good number of videos on YouTube about Cave Art, and of the short ones I would recommend are   1) Cave Paintings: Gives good background information and technical analysis about how these paintings were done, the materials used, the technical choices made in doing the drawings, etc. but wisely concludes that the function and meaning of these works are something we just don't know  2) Top 10 Prehistoric Cave Paintings 2014 HD 1080p HD: Top 10 lists are always a peculiar exercise, but this one, at least, helps us get an overview of the phenomenon of cave art and its scope and reach during the its lifespan  3) CGI video of cave painting at Lascaux, France This one offers something interesting and important, it gives us a good experience of this art in its setting and how the setting is part of the overall story,  and 4) caves of lascaux: gives good background information on the history of our experience, knowledge, and understanding of the caves of lascaux, France, which are probably the most famous such caves. And it also gives some great snapshots of magnificent individual works within them.


Doing a little cultural sleuthing about the presence of these videos, it's not much of a stretch to infer that this Art, and our knowledge that it exists, is of high interest to us still after several millennia.  In essence, these drawings, done 30,000 years ago, continue to find a broader audience by virtue of being shared globally through a medium that somehow, works with them exceptionally: charcoal and ochre, rough stone, and html code, a truly sublime mix :) 

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