Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Cave Painting used in Modernism

On first seeing the paintings of some artist of modernism, several commentators have been spontaneously struck by its resemblance to the wall-painting of the Upper Paleolithic era, that is to say, to those wonderful frescoes which, in the course of the last century, were revealed to modern man at Fontsites with names like Font-de-Gaume, Altamira, Niaux, Marsoulas, Trois-Fre`res, Pech-Merle, Lascaux, Cougnac, Rouffignac and Chauvet. What is astonishing is that it was essentially a twentieth-century audience which first enjoyed these discoveries (which are often 're-discoveries' of neglected sites, for we know that it took several decades for archaeologists to recognize Altamira as authentic); furthermore, I would venture to say that Paleolithic art, having been utterly forgotten for thousands of years and then suddenly brought before our gaze, definitely forms part of the history of modern art. Indeed, certain well attested affinities allow us to state that the expressions of human beings from the most remote times have had a considerable impact upon a good many artists of Modernism, including Brancusi, Hans Arp, Klee, MirĂ³ and Tal Coat.

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