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Stratum Plus. 1997

L. Vishnyatsky (St.-Petersburg, Russia)

On the approaches to art

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Pages: 4-19

When did the hominids become biologically capable of art production? What could have been the factors which caused the realisation of this capability? In the author’s view these two questions are of crucial importance for the problem of art origins. The analysis of the available data leads to the conclusion that the absence of indisputable works of art in pre-Upper Palaeolithic times does not mean that the Middle and Lower Palaeolithic people were incapable of artistic activity. Whether the biological prerequisites necessary for art creation and perception formed as late as the beginning of the Upper Palaeolithic, or much earlier, it did not entail automatically any changes in human behaviour. Such changes occurred under the influence of some other (non-biological) factors, and it is just the revelation of the latter which constitutes the essence of the problem of art origins. Various theories pertinent to the subject are reviewed to support the idea that functions of the Palaeolithic art were not the same at different times and in different regions.

Information about author:

Leonid Vishnyatsky (St.-Petersburg, Russia). Doctor of historical sciences. Institute for the History of Material Culture, Russian Academy of Sciences.
E-mail: [email protected]

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