The Age of Art
Traces of becoming
By over viewing the remains from prehistoric times, a first stunning fact is that over 90% of the finds show expressions of visual art. The represented images are in part figurative and in part abstract symbols and diagrams. Taken together, those artistic findings represent, better than any historic annals, the coded illustration of their cultural worlds. To the more tempered New Stone Age belongs a large production of pottery art, plus megalithic sculpting and graphite made on rocks in the open air. While the arts of the Old Stone Age have been found mainly inside natural caves, dominated by the most fascinating animal paintings and reliefs, such as in the great cave of Altamira described as the "Sistine Chapel of prehistory"; together with micro-sculptures and engravings on boons and ivory, with the most beautiful female sculptures known as "Venus". But what appears as naturalistic figurations of animals and woman body, in reality is based on symbolic structures of high complexity, like the dominating binary system discovered by the great french paleo-anthropologists André Leroi-Gourhan, or the evident use of the “golden proportions”, plus cosmological connotation of the “holly mountain” connected to shamanic trances. Many are the aspects of primeval art expressions. From the more general view of Total History the most important aspect of the Upper Paleolithic Ice Age is that the great manifestation and the expanding of visual arts during this period is synchronic with the birth and territorial diffusion of the present day’s human gender, the Cro-Magnon called also sapiens-sapiens. For the relative speed with which visual arts appeared and expanded on our planet, Anati speaks about an "explosion of art"; while the famous paleoanthropologist Richard E. Leakey, considering the cultural centrality of art in this period, defined the Upper Paleolithic as the "Age of Art". Those aspects underline at best the deep ancestral connection existing between artistic creativity and anthropological identity of mankind. This facts testify that visual arts where originally a determinant factor in cultural humanizing of our most distant ancestors. Rather, we should speak about this founding artistic culture as the first "humanism" in the world. Equally important is to realize that this primary cultural layer of our species contains not only the common root of human creativity but is also the “mother culture” of all mankind. In this context, André Leroi-Gourhan described the Paleolithic culture of art "the roots of the world." There remains only to point out the significance of promoting awareness of this common anthropological identity: since the Primal Age underlies all cultural divisions created trough history, it represents a common reference for the anthropological evolution of humanity towards a planetary society, composed of citizens of the world who feel united by a common origin, similarly to any ethic group.