Home Forums Prehistoric Abstraction Prehistoric Abstraction Reply To: Prehistoric Abstraction

Miranda Johansson

Tate states, “the term [abstract] can be applied to art that is based an object, figure or landscape, where forms have been simplified or schematised.” I always thought that abstract art was something that is hard to define or interpret. I really like the definition that Tate gives, because they describe abstract art as something that was created with purpose and intention, something that represents various things such as virtues, morals, emotions, etc.
Looking over some Paleolithic art, such as the Lion-Human or the Chauvet Cave, I would think that in some sense prehistoric art can be abstract. Especially the cave paintings, as these seem to be simplified figures and objects that represents something of that time. Looking over the section of the horses in the Chauvet Cave, it looks abstract, but it seems to be telling the story of a aging horse. And this just might have been the purpose of many of the art pieces that we see from that era, to tell a story.
Now, I don’t think that all prehistoric art is abstract. Like the Neolithic Pottery or the Newgrange, these seem to have been created with intentions for use rather than for interpretation.
In short, to me it seems that some of the art from prehistoric times were used for story-telling while some of the art was created for uses in various rituals.