The divide between the Paleolithic period and the Neolithic period could not be greater. However, both time periods rely on each-others advancements for the ultimate development of art, and architecture. The Paleolithic time period is divided into three sections, lower, middle and upper. This time period is essentially the beginning of human control over the environment. Humans were now beginning to leave their mark, so-to-speak. During this time period, humans relied on hunting, fishing, and farming for their survival, they began drawing in caves at this time. Cave art was the ancient version of murals. The art depicted what the ancient culture valued most, life. During this time period, creation was important and essential. Artists depicted everyday life and animals because that is what they depended on for their livelihood.
Two Bison, sculpted from clay and found in a cave in Le Tuc d’Audoubert, France ca 15,000 – 10,000 BCE (Gardner and Kleiner, 2014). Sculpted from the walls of the interior of the cave is two bison who stand in darkness, alone in a cave, waiting to be discovered for thousands of years. The details of the Two Bison is sharp and clearly depicted, the Two Bison is just one of many examples of Paleolithic Art that remains today. Some pieces found in caves where they waited for thousands of years to be discovered and appreciated all over again. The Paleolithic time period was also known as the old stone age (Gardner and Kleiner, 2014). This period of time not only recognizes cave art but also paintings and sculptures. One painting widely recognized today as a statement for the Paleolithic time period would be the Rhinoceros, wounded man and disemboweled bison, painting in the well of the cave at Lascaux, France, ca. 16,000 – 14,000 BCE. Bison 3’4″ long (Gardner and Kleiner, 2014). Since the Paleolithic time period focused on the hunter, and food as a source of life. This painting reflects the culture of the time and shows the hunting that occurred as a way of survival. The painting also reflects the danger of hunting during the ancient times, as the picture shows man holding a sphere, surely this wasn’t a safe way for man to hunt without risking injury, however, it was man’s way to survive and provide.
Compared to the Paleolithic time period, the Neolithic time period is built from the tools that were discovered before. Known as the New Stone Age, advancements and discoveries were being made in art that further developed society (Gardner and Kleiner, 2014). Agriculture became a new source of sustainability for humans. Without the remains of art found in caves, or buried in the ground. Our understanding of the Ancient World would be much less. However, because humans during the Paleolithic and Neolithic time periods created art, humans today are able to grasp what life was like thousands of years before us. Stonehenge, Salisbury Plain, ca 2550 – 1600 BCE is a statement piece of architecture from the Neolithic time period (Gardner and Kleiner, 2014). Still standing today, Stonehenge is an example of the advancements of the Neolithic time period. Also, it represents the cultural innovations for architecture that are still studied and appreciated today.
Both Paleolithic and Neolithic art were instrumental in advancing art as we know it today. While both time periods are known and appreciated for different things and different works of art. They both revolutionized society and laid the foundation for art and architecture for many years to follow. While Paleolithic art focused on hunting for survival the Neolithic age focused on gathering and cultivating the earth. Without the cave depictions like the Two Bison, the humans in the Neolithic age wouldn’t have tried building with stone, their creation of Stonehenge laid the foundation for many magnificent works that followed for thousands of years. While the Old Stone Age and the New Stone Age had many religious and political similarities (Gardner and Kleiner, 2014). Their way of representing art and architecture was vastly different. The Paleolithic era led to the Neolithic growth and transformation. The agricultural development could not have occurred, had the Paleolithic events not happened. Both eras needed to happen so that our world could be what it is today. The objective was simple during both periods of time, survive at all costs. That’s what they did and amongst the survival and growth, they created art, which has been appreciated for thousands of years to follow.
Roman art and architecture have influenced so much of the world from its majestic houses of worship to the government style buildings that still exist today, in modern representations. Known to many as the World’s greatest Empire—The Roman Empire was the epitome of grand (Gardner and Kleiner, 2014). Roman art and architecture span wide across many categories, the Roman culture crafted magnificent sculptures and statues, many with Greek influence. Gardener’s Art through the Ages: Western Perspective discusses Roman art and states that the first Roman art can be dated as far back as 509 BCE (Gardner and Kleiner, 2014). Perhaps Roman influenced art may date back even further with the Byzantine art included. Roman art, however, encompasses many categories from paintings to mosaic art, and even terracotta’s. The culture of the Mediterranean that surrounded Rome was truly an inspiration for the art that was created during the Ancient times.
In the year of 509 BCE when the government system drastically changed, the culture and principles of Rome began to change as well. This period in time known as the Republic was a time where art began to reflect government officials publicly and reflect the military in statues or paintings. An example of this is found in the textbook the piece is titled “Portrait of a Roman general, from the Sanctuary of Hercules, Tivoli, Italy, ca 75-50 BCE. Marble 6’2” high Museo Nazionale Romano-Palazzo Rome (Gardner and Kleiner, 2014). The piece reflects the stance of a government official in the Republic of late Rome. Overall the characteristics of Roman art and Architecture between the years of 509 BCE – 337 CE reflected government officials and political movements.
In addition to art and architecture in the Roman Empire reflecting political gain, many buildings were built to honor religion. Basilicas became churches and were beautifully decorated by artists and sculptors alike. The “restored cutaway view and plan of Old Saint Peter’s, Rome, Italy, began ca. 319” (Gardner and Kleiner, 2014). The significance of this basilica goes much farther than that of the Christian faith. St. Peter’s basilica survived persecution and is recognized by many as a holy site. Without Constantine’s efforts to free Christians this statement of the Christian faith may not be standing today, as a representative of what Christians went through during times of opposition. In addition to the impressive architecture and craftsmanship, the Basilica of Old St. Peter’s encompasses gifts from Constantine himself. These gifts include alters, chandeliers, candlesticks, pitchers, jewels, and pearls (Gardner and Kleiner, 2014).
The characteristics that were created during the Roman Empire in many ways laid the foundation for many architectural advancements to follow. Constantine’s efforts to free Christianity in Rome led to many artistic expansions within churches and places of worship.
The years between 509 BCE and 337 CE were years of progression for the Roman Empire, and years of enrichment for the artists and architects. Without the grand and intricate pieces left behind many would not have been able to study what the culture was like back in the Ancient Times. Artists surely left their mark and wanted to be remembered for what they did best— create works that would leave a lasting impression on many for generations to follow.
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