Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

Europe: Paleolithic Art

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_1985


In the western peninsula of Eurasia, Paleolithic art is particularly concentrated and is the earliest. It would appear that the migrations of modern humans from the East had to “mark” the geographic extremity and their new territories. Such materialization of oral myths guaranteed their reality and performance by adding the harmony of plastic forms. Based on the opposition between two systems of thought (Neandertal and Cro-Magnon), graphic imagery rendered this difference in supernatural substance and accentuated the two metaphysical worlds. “Images” are not absent during the Middle Paleolithic (Neandertals) in Europe, but follow entirely different paths from that of plastic illusion. Their burials and habitats have remains with a natural connotation, much more realistic than any later images: horns, antlers, skulls, and mandibles, isolated in tombs, designated the animal symbol, status, and the perpetuity of the deceased, like nature itself to which humanity associates...

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Further Reading

  1. Clottes, J. 2008. L'art des cavernes préhistoriques. Paris: Phaidon.Google Scholar
  2. Leroi-Gourhan, A. 1965. Préhistoire de l'art occidental. Paris: Mazenod.Google Scholar
  3. Lorblanchet, M. 1995. Les grottes ornées de la préhistoire. Nouveaux regards. Paris: Errance.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Service of PrehistoryUniversity of LiègeLiègeBelgium