cave painting

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See also: cave-painting



A Paleolithic cave painting (sense 2) of aurochs, deer, and horses at Lascaux in Dordogne, France.


cave painting (countable and uncountable, plural cave paintings) (archaeology, art)

  1. (uncountable) The activity of applying pigments to the interior surfaces of caves to create images, especially when carried out in prehistoric times.
    • 1959, Erle Loran, Cézanne’s Composition: Analysis of His Form with Diagrams and Photographs of His Motifs, 2nd edition, Berkeley; Los Angeles, Calif.; London: University of California Press, OCLC 717684010, page 4, column 2:
      For several decades, now, he [the modern artist] has taken the liberty of learning how to draw and compose by studying and borrowing ideas from the high periods in all art, as far back as prehistoric cave painting.
    • 1989, Margaret W. Conkey, “The Structural Analysis of Paleolithic Art”, in C[lifford] C[harles] Lamberg-Karlovsky, editor, Archaeological Thought in America, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire; New York, N.Y.: Cambridge University Press, →ISBN, page 135:
      [C]ave painting appears to have flourished during the last 8–10,000 years of this period and to be concentrated in limestone caves of southwestern Europe (especially southwestern France and north coastal Spain), [...]
    • 1995, Alex Webster, “Differentiation”, in Geoffrey Moss, editor, The Basics of Special Needs: A Routledge/Special Children Survival Guide for the Classroom Teacher, London; New York, N.Y.: Routledge, published 1996, →ISBN, page 42:
      In another topic on prehistoric man, pupils used 'active learning' methods to construct a 'cave set'; re-enacted cave-painting by homemade candlelight; [...]
    • 2001, Eric Jensen, “Visual Arts”, in Arts with the Brain in Mind, Alexandria, Va.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, →ISBN, page 50:
      Art-making may have emerged as early as 1.5 million years ago with the arrival of Homo erectus, our humanlike ancestors. [...] Cave painting and early sketching were ways to enhance thinking, serving as a medium for idea manipulation, enhancement, and storage.
  2. (uncountable) The paintings resulting from this activity regarded collectively, especially if prehistoric; cave art; (countable) an individual painting of this type.
    • 1818 July 28, F. Dangerfield, “IX. Some Account of the Caves near Baug, Called the Panch Pandoo”, in Transactions of the Literary Society of Bombay, volume II, London: [] Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, []; and John Murray, [], published 1876, OCLC 1194361070, editorial note, page 216:
      I understand from Paṇḍita Baghavánlál, who lately visited the caves, that the painting and writings in these caves are fast going to decay. Those at Ajaṇṭhá are more durable, whereas the Bagh cave paintings will, it is feared, be entirely obliterated after some years.
    • 1851 January, J. Rose, “Art. VIII.—Extracts from the Proceedings of the Society for the Year 1849–50.”, in The Journal of the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, volume IV, Bombay, Maharashtra: American Mission Press; T. Graham, [], OCLC 1194302069, page 351:
      No natives of this country could, I think, have drawn the cave-paintings [in Buddhist caves found in Khandesh].
    • 1871 February 4, “Scientific Notes. Cave-paintings by Bushmen.”, in Appletons’ Journal of Literature, Science, and Art, volume V, number 97, New York, N.Y.: D[aniel] Appleton and Company, [], OCLC 56697352, page 143, column 2:
      Mr. George W. Stow, of Queenstown, South Africa, refers in a letter to the interesting subject of the old cave-paintings by the Bushmen, [...]
    • 1972 January–March, Dilip Kumar Ray, “Some Thoughts on the Problems of Arrangement of Anthropological Specimen in Museums”, in Amalendu Bose, editor, The Calcutta Review, volume III, number 3 (New Series), Calcutta, West Bengal: University of Calcutta, ISSN 0045-3846, OCLC 487321879, page 232:
      Prehistoric pottery, art, cave painting, engraving can be incorporated into the exhibition as an added colourful attraction.
    • 1998, Don Brothwell; Patricia Brothwell, “Sugars”, in Food in Antiquity: A Survey of the Diet of Ancient Peoples, expanded edition, Baltimore, Md.; London: Johns Hopkins University Press, →ISBN, page 72:
      Although somewhat difficult to date, the earliest direct evidence of human interest in honey occurs in the famous stone-age cave painting from southern Spain, of a man robbing a wild bees' nest.
    • 1999, Lutz Koepnick, “Benjamin’s Actuality”, in Walter Benjamin and the Aesthetics of Power (Modern German Culture and Literature), Lincoln, Neb.; London: University of Nebraska Press, →ISBN, part 2 (Rethinking the Spectacle), page 213:
      Rooted in precinematic cultural activities such as walking and traveling, on the one hand, and in all forms of visual representation – including cave painting – on the other, the compound term ["mobilized virtual gaze"] is meant to describe forms of scopic pleasure that travel "in an imaginary flânerie through an imaginary elsewhere and an imaginary 'elsewhen'.'"
    • 2002, Christon I. Archer; John R. Ferris; Holger H. Herwig; Timothy H. E. Travers, “Introduction: The Origins of Warfare”, in World History of Warfare, Lincoln, Neb.: University of Nebraska Press, →ISBN, page 1:
      The well-known Neolithic cave painting from Morella la Villa in Spain unmistakably shows a battle between two small groups of archers.
    • 2009, Jonathan Adams, “The March of Cain: Humans as a Destroyer of Species”, in John Mason, editor, Species Richness: Patterns in the Diversity of Life (Springer–Praxis Books in Environmental Sciences), Berlin; Heidelberg: Springer; Chichester, West Sussex: Praxis Publishing, →ISBN, section 5.3 (The Secrets of Our Success over Other Human Species), page 211:
      By 30,000 years ago, modern humans in Europe were producing stunning cave paintings of ice age animals, and carved human figurines.
    • 2011, “Introduction”, in Victor S. Lamoureux, editor, Animal Behavior: An Evolutionary Approach, Boca Raton, Fla.: CRC Press; Oakville, Ont.: Apple Academic Press, →ISBN, page 7:
      Human beings have been students of animal behavior from their earliest days. [...] Further evidence for this appreciation of animal behavior can be seen in the many cave paintings depicting animals, while not depicting any of the other facets of the painters' lives.

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