Culture and Recreation


How long have humans been producing art?

The first true art was originated by Homo sapiens sapiens (called “man the double wise”) in Europe about 35,000 years ago (during the Stone Age). Man the double wise painted his own hand prints, warrior images, and animals (including bison, horses, and reindeer) on the walls and ceilings of uninhabited caves in France and Spain between 35,000 B.C. and 8000 B.C. He used red, black, and yellow paints, which were made by mixing powdered earth and rock pigments with water. Among the most famous paintings are those in the caves at Lascaux (in Dordogne, France), Niaux (Ariège, France), Pech-Merle (Lot, France), Gasulla (Castellón, Spain), and Altamira (Cantabria, Spain).

These early modern humans—who, if dressed in contemporary clothing, would be nearly indistinguishable from anyone on a modern city street—also decorated tools and created lifelike sculptures of animals and women. European man of this period, who had a fully developed human brain, is also referred to as Cro-Magnon man for a shallow rock shelter near Les Eyzies in the Dordogne region of southwestern France, where, in 1868, skeletal remains of the tall, erect-walking species were found.


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