Paleolithic Cave Drawings – Ancient Kid Art?


Are the ancient scratchings and paintings found in more than two hundred caves scattered through southwestern France and northeastern Spain, sophisticated renderings done by ‘cave man’ artists?… or are they the playful ‘doodling and graffiti’ of Paleolithic teenagers?

I absolutely love the idea that "kids will be kids" whether they are from the ‘Paleolithic Times’ or this ‘New Millennium’, especially when it comes to their art!

Reading through this interesting article called "Secrets of the Cave Paintings" By William H. McNeill, I was delighted to read R. Dale Guthrie’s insights on the art found on the walls of several caves inhabited by Paleolithic Cave Man.

"It was, he supposes [the depiction of animal forms on rock surfaces ], —something an adolescent boy or mature man would do casually in spare time, using both sharpened stones to carve the outlines and various mineral and vegetable colors to make the animal images accurate.

Not specialized artists but quite ordinary males, Guthrie believes, were the cave artists and they decorated the walls for fun, not for any religious or other ulterior purpose."

"…youngsters were responsible for much more of preserved Paleolithic art than scholars have assumed…. I am not concluding…that all Paleolithic art is children’s art, only that works by young people constitute both a disproportionate and largely unrecognized fraction of preserved Paleolithic art."

The thought of a group of cave kids ‘just hanging out’ scratching some stuff on the walls, (mostly gory hunting pictures and human private parts)  reaffirmed my suspicions that kids are pretty much the same creatures no matter what time and place they are from.


Comments on Paleolithic Cave Drawings – Ancient Kid Art? Leave a Comment

January 26, 2007

Old School Jack @ 10:03 pm #

It’s an interesting veiw of the subject matter, but what you think of it this way, probrobly everyone, at one point or another has drawn on the walls as a kid with whatever they could get their hands on, and parents with children know this more than anyone. Could it be possible, if you were to not attempt to speculate the age range of the paleolithic artists in question, that the ability or drive to artisticly render one’s suroundings, are infact a part of our primal instincts, because somewhere, sometime, someone decieded to try this for the first time, without anybody teaching them, and they probrobly looked exactly like what your kids draw in the halway with cryola and mom’s lipstick, because even these people would have to hoan their skills to be able to do this, eventually compiling techniqes to better render them. This didn’t happen simutainiously, because drawings found in Altamira, spain, even though they were made more resently( 15,000-10,000 BCE), are not as well drawn as those found in Chauvet, France which actually date back to around 40,000 BCE. Meaning that either tecniuqe did not originate in the same place, or that it may have been lost due to a change in living style, ie, the hunt became more importnat than the drawings. but there is also the argument that you have made above, Paleolithic Taggers of sorts possibly.

January 29, 2007

Cindy Lietz @ 3:10 pm #

Thanks for your comments. Your feedback is very
intellectual. Cindy.

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