Before Picasso

Art, blogging, history



These are my digital paintings inspired by the 30000 year old drawings at Chauvet, discovered only last century and now under wraps to maintain them.  Other paintings at Lascaux were disfigured by fungi once the caves were opened.

Noone can be sure about the  motivation behind the painter(s). We don”t know if they were capturing images of the animals they saw, or using them as representations of something important to their culture. They may have been honouring life force or strength, we just do not know.  What we can say is that they are remarkable examples of very early humans choosing to show parts of their experience, and this is interesting. We don’t get representations of humans, Although there are human parts shown, hands, genitals, but not people. Interesting. And no birds, no fishes, no trees, no clouds, no grass. Is there something ‘sacred’ in showing what could be described as ‘upper mammals’ – lions, bisons, rhinos. Worth consideration. These are amazing forerunners of how human beings turn towards the creation of art as expression. The top image is clearly a bison and the second image shows lions.. Remember how far back in time we are looking – 30000 years – we are still piecing together what humans were about at that time. these images could demonstrate a human impulse to create art as symbolic representations , or show a mind that was intent on creating  a record for future generations. Amazing , read all about it here


8 thoughts on “Before Picasso

  1. I find these paintings to be among the most evocative of all works in the history of art. Normally, we can’t tell if a work is “good” or not unless we know about the tradition it was part of, what influences, what intentions, etc. But these works, stripped of all “art history” are still profoundly moving. We don’t need to know the intentions to feel closely connected to the works and the artists, who were profoundly human.


    1. I agree with your sentiments , and love that last sentence in your comment. It is miraculous feeling that connection, and life enhancing. As I get older, I am drawn to the ‘simplicity’ of expression, the quiet , calm but clear pulses of humanity that get expressed . It isn’t quite minimalism, but stripping away of the vain, the ‘glorious’ , the performance. I think that is what draws me to these paintings. Lovely to hear from you. Regards Anne


  2. Hello, Anne, this is fascinating! I did open your link to Bradshaw Foundation — what a pretty website that is, and you’re so good at finding such treasures. Not sure how you do these “digital paintings,” but yes, as D. K. Fennell says, these images are wonderfully “evocative,” and throw us beautifully back to the minds of these ancient artists.
    May I say that since returning to Cincinnati I’ve had little time for the net or for sites like yours, and have posted on my own blog only two pieces in the past six weeks; I’ve been moved to compose pictures and verses about the pity of war — in these times of conflict. Your engaging use of your own favorite poems probably helped me feel that people can respond to each other in this way.
    You, on the other hand, have been very active on Moving in Time! And perhaps I can catch up with your posts of the season.


    1. H i Martha! Sounds like you have been busy! Sometimes I feel very restricted by health issues, and maintaining the blog is an easy way to keep engaged I find! I would rather be busy in the world actually, but I am who I am, and do what I can!


  3. Anne, I’ve always found these cave paintings astonishingly beautiful. I’ve read that the prehistoric artists actually used the rock faces’ naturally uneven surfaces to create something very like bas-reliefs. It is as though the artist saw the animals figures in the rock before s/he painted them. The works exhibit an intimate physiological knowledge of the animals, as well as the spirit or essence of the creatures. Whatever the process or purpose of these ancient paintings, they rank right up there with the masters of art in historical times. Utterly fascinating! I recently found some cotton canvas fabric that displayed some of these prehistoric paintings. I’m kicking myself for not buying some to make a tote out of it, but it was a bit pricey. Thank you for your wonderful,post!


    1. hi Janet, I know what you are saying, they are astonishing. There are some products at Society6 with my digital illustration on them and they look great! Theres a link to my Society 6 place on the first page of the blog. I would love a shower curtain !! Trouble is our shower is a cubicle and a door!! take care, Anne


I like to hear from you, so tell me what you think.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s