The Outline of Literature

The Outline of Literature

The Outline of Literature

The Outline of Literature

Excerpt

From the earliest times, man has felt a need to express his joy in the world which surrounds him. In the caves of the Dordogne, the artists of the Stone Age made the first step towards picture painting when they scratched the outlines of reindeer and ibex on pieces of bone and drew a combat of animals with spirit and realism. These prehistoric drawings show both power of observation and skill with the hand. Less ancient than these Stone Age carvings are the three colour paintings of animals discovered in a cave near Santander, in Spain. They are at least fifty thousand years old. This prehistoric art is interesting because it shows that man, in a very early stage of his development, was eager to produce accurate representation of the nature with which he was familiar, and it is suggestive to notice the resemblance between this ancient work and the rude sketches and designs of such backward races in the modern world as the Australians, the South African bushmen, and the Esquimaux.

As we approach historic times, the instinct to record the beauty of form, colour, and movement becomes more strongly developed. The artists of ancient Egypt, for example, were most concerned with truth of contour. The human form was always conventionalised, but the characteristic poses of both men and beasts were graphically represented. Each phase of civilisation, indeed, has produced its own form of art, and it is largely from these monuments of bygone generations that we are able to reconstruct the history of man.

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