Prehistoric art is art created before written history, often the only record of early cultures. (Thefreedictionary.com) Prehistoric art is in three classifications, Paleolithic, Neolithic and thee Bronze Age. Paleolithic is the Old Stone Age. Neolithic is the New Stone Age. The Bronze Age is when metals such as copper, iron, and gold are used.
An example of Paleolithic art is the cave painting, Hall of the Bulls. The surface on which it is painted is not smooth. The painters used the contours of the cave to give composition. The painters also used the technique “twisted perspective”. This means the heads appear in frontal perspectives. The bodies appear in profile perspectives. Colors in the painting appear in black, red, and brown. Ground ocher pigments and charcoal make these colors.
I believe the purpose of this painting is to show the scene before a hunt. It depicts cows, bulls, horses, and deer in relative peaceful harmony. This observation came to me looking at the painting.
An example of Neolithic art is Stonehenge. Stonehenge is in Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, England. Stonehenge is an example of Megalithic Architecture also. Built with huge stones about 20 feet tall of gray sarsen. The stones arranged in a circle around an altar. I believe Stonehenge was a monument to celebrate the summer solstice. Observing its size and shape, it would cast various shadows with the sun shining, the altar most likely for offerings to the sun god. I came to this conclusion knowing what I know about the druids and sun worship.
The end of the Neolithic age was the beginning of the Bronze Age. Known also as the Metal Age for its metal working which took place. The metals most used were copper, iron, gold, and tin. Iron was the cheapest and more available of the other metals. Iron used to forge weapons like swards, spears, and shields. Plows for farmers also forged from Iron helped in landscaping their farms. Gold and copper were predominately reserved for royalty and the gods, forming it in the form of golden idols.
Prehistoric art gave a written voice to those whom would not have had one otherwise. We are fortunate for these artists, and the stories their art tells. Prehistoric art was a way of self-expression and necessity, not to mention for people to feel closer to their gods. I wonder if prehistoric art served as a decorative purpose too.