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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

38,000-year-old engravings confirm ancient origins of technique used by Seurat, Van Gogh | NYU News

"A newly discovered trove of 16 engraved and otherwise modified limestone blocks, created 38,000 years ago, confirms the ancient origins of the pointillist techniques later adopted by 19th and 20th century artists such as Georges Seurat, Vincent Van Gogh, Camille Pissarro, and Roy Lichtenstein." inform NYU News.

The 2014 excavations at Abri Cellier
Photo by M. Azéma

“We’re quite familiar with the techniques of these modern artists,” observes New York University anthropologist Randall White, who led the excavation in France’s Vézère Valley. “But now we can confirm this form of image-making was already being practiced by Europe’s earliest human culture, the Aurignacian.”

Pointillism, a painting technique in which small dots are used to create the illusion of a larger image, was developed in the 1880s. However, archaeologists have now found evidence of this technique thousands of years earlier — dating back more than 35,000 years.

The findings appear in the journal Quaternary International
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2017.02.001

Major discoveries by White and his colleagues–which include images of mammoths and horses–confirm that a form of pointillism was used by the Aurignacian, the earliest modern human culture in Europe. These add weight to previous isolated discoveries, such as a rhinoceros, from the Grotte Chauvet in France, formed by the application of dozens of dots, first painted on the palm of the hand, and then transferred to the cave wall.

Earlier this year, White’s team reported the uncovering of a 38,000-year-old pointillist image of an aurochs or wild cow–a finding that marks some of the earliest known graphic imagery found in Western Eurasia and offers insights into the nature of modern humans during this period. Now, in short order they have found another pointillist image–this time of a woolly mammoth–in a rock shelter of the same period known as Abri Cellier located near the previous find-site of Abri Blanchard.

Abri Cellier has long been on archeologists’ short-list of major art-bearing sites attributed to the European Aurignacian. Excavations in 1927 yielded 15 engraved and/or pierced limestone blocks that have served as a key point of reference for the study of Aurignacian art in the region...

Image and captions/photo credit may be downloaded here.
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Source: NYU News


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