History – Art






Works of art: It is the artistic creation of a physical object or an item produced in a desired shape and size

Prehistoric art: The creation developed by man to create images, drawings, paintings and Upper Paleolithic art is the artistic design created by man

Definition of terms

Paleolithic humans being nomads walked in groups thus were hunters and gathers and in in turn they would live in caves, huts and tents (skin) they used blunt light stone tools, wooden and chipped stones at their tools of art thus their art work were noticed as the cave paintings as part of their activity (Evans & Christopher, 2000). On the other hand, Neolithic human stayed on permanent settlement where their art involved wall paintings in that their lifestyle was different from the other therefore they had an improved way of art compared to the Paleolithic. Flying gallop is a drawing or painting of a horse it refers to an animal running above the ground level, with the legs extended forward and backward.

  • Lion-Human from Hohlenstein-Stadel – Oldest animal shaped figure made from a mammoth sculpture believed to have been designed in the olden days by the man through the use of a knife and stone.
  • Woman from Willendorf – also referred as Venus of willendorf, a female statue believed to be the goddess of procreation curved with limestone
  • Architecture: (mammoth-bone house, Ukraine) – composition of bones and huts brought together on a rough surface to develop a shelter in a hut shaped figure built by the man (prehistoric)
  • Cave and rock paintings, sculpture: The cave was a shelter to the Neanderthal man the activities included rock paintings which were later displaced by the modern man, sculpture is the object created to make an image in different shapes and sizes.
  • Pech-Merle Cave- cave located in France where prehistoric paintings and cave paintings happened to have been accomplished.
  • Chauvet Cave- has the best paintings in the world
  • Lascaux Cave – contains various animal drawings, they were large and sophisticated
  • Altamira – a cave containing charcoal drawings from human hands
  • Bison, Le Tuc d’Audoubert – prehistoric figures created from rocks and wood art
  • Art in the Neolithic Period (8000-3400/2300 BCE)- art that defined that Human beings had begun to settle, and innovation had been achieved
  • Sculpture (Woman and Man from Cernavoda) – the figure created to represent the man and woman in the world of art by the way of expressing their cognitive function
  • Village settlements (Catal Hoyuk) – a densely populated settlement pronounces to be the centre of culture within the Neolithic period
  • Megalithic Architecture – it is the study of the olden cultural activities that lead to building of the sites
  • Newgrange, Ireland – prehistoric monument built in the Neolithic period consisting of a circular mound and a passage way containing chambers
  • Stonehenge – prehistoric monument with stones standing around
  • Vocabulary:
  • sculpture in the round – a three-dimension sculpture not aligned ton a flat background
  • relief sculpture- Curved arts which protrudes from different backgrounds
  • abstraction – amateur creations of items to show the real thing
  • Stylization – primitive paintings describing hunters and the held animals
  • Attributes – grouping of artifacts according to their traits
  • Modeling – use of clay and wax to create certain shapes
  • Flying gallop – art illustration showing the position that an animal is too fast that both feet are off the ground
  • Ceramics – Artistic decoration by potters over distinct shapes and sizes of objects     
  • Post-and-lintel construction – an architecture built with vertical beams and other on top lie horizontally
  • Corbeling – a piece of structural stone or other material protruding to carry a particular weight in a building structure
  • Dolmen – a monument with vertical stones with one lying vertically on top
  • Capstones – a large flat stone placed on top of the others arch and acts as a roof
  • Cairn – a group of stones arranges together for various purposes e.g landmarks
  • Passage graves – burial chambers that consists of a large stone with a path and as a graveyard
  • Henge – olden monument that consists of circular stones or wood placed vertically
  • Incised– marks, arts or decorations made on the surfaces of objects to make a desired drawing

According to Mens ( 2008), Prehistoric man begun with drawing and sketches as part of the painting in the art work by use of hammer and stones, with time there came an improvement by use of bones, charcoal and stone grinding which involved use of mixing vessels which attributed the face painting unlike the art in the caves there was an addition of the three dimension to the already existing two dimension drawings.

The music theory refers to the art existed behind a music that influenced the painting of particular art the origin being a music lyric that was developed earlier, also the utilitarian theory placed the paintings to an order ethics to differentiate right and wrong beyond the individual interest taken into account (Blake, 2001)

The megalithic monuments in Europe are used as territorial border in the surrounding environment, the domination of timber megaliths is due to the availability of infrastructure and labour, they acted as cereals of cultivation products

The shape of the metal determined the type of use to the prehistoric man for instance copper could be used as a weapon when smelted bronze could be hammered to particular shapes and sizes and used as a tool of crafting, sharp pointed metals were used to create arts by scrapping over wood and stones

In conclusion the prehistoric man was involved in various activities in each step he underwent and lead to improvement of other human activities such as farming and settlement to improve life style.


Blake, E. 2001 Constructing a Nuragic Locale: The Spatial Relationship between Tombs and Towers in Bronze Age Sardinia. American Journal of Archaeology 105(2):145-162.

Evans, Christopher 2000 Megalithic Follies: Soane’s “Druidic Remains” and the display of monuments. Journal of Material Culture 5(3):347-366

Mens, E. 2008 Refitting megaliths in western France. Antiquity 82(315):25-36.

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