How old is "Art"?

June 5, 2017

The pigment was used for a variety of purposes, but samples were likely made mostly for “symbolic activities,” the researchers write, such as cave or body painting; some ochre pieces even appear to be ground to a point at one end, as if they were once used like crayons. Another notable find: a round pebble half-covered with ochre that suggests use as a stamp to apply pigments to or even form patterns on soft material.

https://hyperallergic.com/382541/one-of-the-worlds-oldest-art-workshops-is-a-cave-in-ethiopia/

Everyone is familiar with the cave paintings at Lascaux, some of the earliest evidence of our modern definition of “art”. Those are somewhere between 17,000-20,000 years old… is that really how old art is, as far as we know?

According to two caves in Africa the evidence points to earlier origins of “artistry” dating back as many as 100,000 years. We rarely hear about this, but I often think about it while seeing some of the “Old Masters'” greatest works in Europe, or Native American Petroglyphs.

In terms of ancient art history, when did we start creating art? As far as we know, our species became anatomically modern humans around 200,000 years ago. How long after that did storytelling take the form of art? How did ancient tools for storytelling and self expression evolve from ochre crayons, to today’s technologies? My dream – a museum dedicated to the evolution of artistic expression. Does one exist and I am just not familiar!? Please tell me I would like to know! 

I would love to see a multimedia tour exploring this theme, taking visitors on a journey from the earliest forms of artistic expression, through the modern day cross-section of art meeting technology – from ochre in caves, to the “Garden of Emoji Delights”

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