Was art’s golden age, when there was a greater concentration of tremendously high quality pictures Holland’s 17th century, from Franz Hals to Vermeer and the late Rembrandt”? I used to think so because there were a thousand other artist doing work almost at the same level. Rembrant’s “Polish Rifleman” was considered one of Rembrant’s greatest pictures until it was proven to be done by a student or a unknown.
Then there is the Velasquez age in Spain, hard to make a case against art of such quality, and the age of impressionism, Monet to (late) Monet and everyone else in between. But take a lot at the paintings that I am going to hang below and tell me if in human history
- Below, a pride of hunting lions.
there has ever been pictures of a higher quality. This Rhino, rendered by a genius paleolothic artist in the Chauvet Caves in the Dordogne Valley of France (about 35,000B.C. is obviously done expressionistically, as is his body shape. This is not primitive art. This is art at the highest level. The artist or artists were confronted with total darkness, the Chauvet Cave (and Lascaux) extended more than 1/4 mile inwards, where no light could penetrate. Their lighting? Hand held lamps carved out of bone filled with animal fat. They knew that if they built a peat moss or wood fire in the cave the soot would ruin their “canvas”, the walls and ceilings of the galleries they were painting on. They brought their own colors with them, mostly mineral based, as well as their applicators, no sable or pig bristle brushes but far from primitive, including stomach’s from animals which they filled with dry or wet pigments which they squeezed to produce sprays. This was very common. No spray machines!guns! This picture of other rhinos shows a realistic rendition of a rhino at the bottom, along with the expressionistic rendering of rhinos at the top, totally modernistic with wildly curving top horns, an interpretative rendition of how the the artist saw the dangerousness of the animal.This picture depicts Aurochs, 2,000lb wild bull cattle with their dangerously exaggerated horns, again an interpretive picture filtered through the experiences and the emotions of the artist-hunter.
Left, a horse, interpretated according to the artist’s vision.