Ice Age Genius

Just over a year ago I stood with my brother by Stonehenge. When you stand next to these stones  you are forced to think about pre historic man. What was he doing,  how did he do it, why did he do it-how did we get from him to where we are. Those who spend their energies  trying to find out whether their great  great grandmother was a princess or a pauper  are playing cards in comparison.

Similar thoughts and in abundance came  in the British Museum when I spent the first of several hours in the Ice Age Art exhibition  There are exhibitions you go to because they are there,there are exhibitions you go to that make you feel even weep and there are those that make you think. This one makes you entertain all those emotions.

10000-30000 years ago in the Ice Age   our forbears were already 100 millennia out of  the animal kingdom. Freezing in their caves, living from hand to mouth, constantly on the move, hunting and gathering-maybe in technical terms they were like the Aussie abos,the Amazonian Indians-whatever. In Europe it was a time when bison roamed and lions hunted. And the people all those years ago were creating art. 20000  years before the Greeks. Talk about the depth of the past.

Models and pictures of women and animals. decorated caves, tools and utensils  They were creating they were imaging  and  imagining ,as the exhibition states they were  part of the modern mind. The skills these artists show in  perfecting line, form,pattern, perspective and contrast were immediately picked up by among other Picasso who kept models of their work in his studio.

I am  a man who in his centrally heated house, fully clothed can barely cut a straight line on a plain piece of paper. So thinking about these artists,these craftsmen  who with the crudest of tools produced the finest work, not only makes me feel but admire.

So we had art before we had religion  And as religion disappears from many of our lives we are left once again with art. Art as  has been said is distilled emotion. Less and less go to church more and more go to art galleries. As Keats so beautifully said, “Beauty is truth,truth beauty; That is all you know an all you need to know.”Cathedrals  and historic churches are more  popular for their artistic artefacts than they are as places of worship. Does this mean we have gone the full circle?

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4 Responses to Ice Age Genius

  1. Liza Watson says:

    Did you know the stones for Stonehenge came from the hill behind Newport? They actually got them down to the sea and took them round on rafts and up the Severn estuary and then overland again to the site.

    Impressive

    X Liza

  2. They built and looked at the stars at night.No light pollution,imagine the same roof over your head moving slowly away as the night moved on.Imagine also they knew what a “joint” or similar was

    . Looking up, mind expanded,couple drinks of a local brew….’What the hell is that up there??? ” read Graham Hancock. He went to the stars and back a number of times. dunks

  3. dope was the beginning of religion,combined with the Sky ar Night ..

  4. Irena says:

    A fine and heart-felt piece – now where is your stylus and some pebbles – it doesn’t have to be a STRAIGHT line! I.

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