The Birth of Art

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Horses and Rhinoceros- Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc Cave circa 30,000-32,000BP Horses and Rhinoceros- Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave circa 30,000-32,000BP

We do not know exactly when the first work of art was created by human hands and we will probably never for certain, as the very question is vexatiously hedged with other questions (such as, what constitutes art?), and that is before we factor in our uncertain knowledge of unconscionably remote periods, new discoveries that shatter accepted wisdom and most pertinently, all that will remain undiscovered as it has vanished from the face of the earth forever.

Georges Bataille who wrote extensively on the subject of prehistoric art for over three decades published  Prehistoric Painting: Lascaux or the Birth of Art in 1955, a monograph on the famous Lascaux Caves, known as the Sistine Chapel of Prehistoric Art, with paintings dating from around 17,000 BP.  Bataille’s theory that Lascaux represented the birth of art  would have been uncontroversial at the time, but new…

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