The Real History of Cave Paintings (Prospect Heights)
Taught by Patty Hamrick
Patty Hamrick has an M.A. in Archaeological Anthropology from New York University. She has worked on excavations across Europe, Asia, and North America, including India, Cyprus, and Syria. She loves bringing her passion for the past to new people.
Fifty thousand years ago, the world experienced its first artistic movement. The pieces of art created at that time are beautiful, important, and still mysterious. They are the famous cave paintings of Lascaux and other European sites. If you’ve encountered these artworks in museums, history classes, or on TV, and wanted to know more, this is the class for you.
The cave paintings of the Upper Paleolithic (that’s a technical term for the late Ice Age) continue to raise questions today: Were they religious? Erotic? Good luck symbols made by superstitious hunters? Do they show the evolution of the human brain? Why did no one make art before this? How were the paints and brushes made? And most of all, who created these works of art? (Was it... aliens?)
This talk will provide an introduction to the wide variety of Upper Paleolithic art, from the backstories of famous paintings you've seen before to new discoveries and obscure finds. We’ll cover the current archaeological theories as to how and why these earliest examples of humanity's artistic drive came into being.
This class requires no prior knowledge of history or art, but come prepared to explore the fundamental role of art in defining what it means to be human.