Where do we find the world's very first art? When, and why, did people begin experimenting with different materials, forms and colours? Were our once-cousins, the Neanderthals, also capable of creating art? Prehistorians have been asking these questions of our ancestors for decades, but only very recently, with the development of cutting-edge scientific and archaeological techniques, have we been able to piece together the first chapter in the story of art. Overturning the traditional Eurocentric vision of our artistic origins, which has focused almost exclusively on the Franco-Spanish cave art, Paul Bahn and Michel Lorblanchet take the reader on a search for the earliest art across the whole world. They show that our earliest ancestors were far from being the creatively impoverished primitives of past accounts, and Europe was by no means the only 'cradle' of art; the artistic impulse developed in the human mind wherever it travelled. The long universal history of art mirrors the development of humanity.
, Paul Bahn
Thames & Hudson
Country of Publication:
20 September 2017
Introduction: What is Art? * 1. Early Attempts to Tackle the Problem: Theories, Chimps and Children * 2. Finding art in Nature: the first stirrings of an aesthetic sense * 3. Can we see art in the first tools? * 4. All work and no play? Looking at marks on bones and stones * 5. Figuring it out - the first carvings * 6. Jingles and bangles: seeking the origins of music and decorated bodies * 7. First art in the landscape * 8. The writing's on the wall * 9. The appearance of rock art around the world * Conclusion
Reviews for The First Artists: In Search of the World's Oldest Art
'A brilliantly researched, global survey of the very first stirrings of human art, which shows us, with admirable objectivity, that there is a deep-seated urge in all human beings to go beyond mere survival and impose visually creative patterns on our world, making us the first truly artistic animal' - Desmond Morris