The oldest work of art ever": 42,000-year-old paintings of seals found in Spanish cave
The world's oldest works of art have been found in a cave on Spain's Costa del Sol, scientists believe.
Six paintings of seals are at least 42,000 years old and are the only known artistic images created by Neanderthal man, experts claim.
Professor Jose Luis Sanchidrian, from the University of Cordoba, described the discovery as 'an academic bombshell', as all previous art work has been attributed to Homo sapiens. . . .
The rest of the story is here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2097869/The-oldest-w...
It is intriguing that this discovery comes on the heels of another, that many Europeans share DNA with Neanderthals. Little more than twenty years ago archeologists were still debating whether the Neanderthals could speak. Does a new sense of inclusivity underly the new vision of Sapiens-Neanderthalensis relations?
Yet, I still wonder. What purpose of these paintings have served?
Surely, it's wasn't for mere aesthetic, since it was painted in the dark.
Damn, this is going to keep up awake.
--- Ashkuff | www.ashkuff.com | How to venture out of “armchair” scholarship and into action? One anthropologist tackles business, occultism and violence! He gets spooked and roughed up a lot.
A. Ashkuff, I just read the following, and I thought it kind of addressed your questions. The quote doesn't pertain to the above image, and it is more general. Perhaps it will help you sleep or stay awake longer:
"The Lascaux caves, in the Dordogne region of France, may have the answer. There you can see a painting of a red cow with a black head high on one of the walls. Up close the cow appears to be stretched from head to toe, but when viewed from the ground the cow regains normal proportions. This technique, known as anamorphosis, is highly advanced, and suggests the painter was considering his audience as he painted the cow." (http://www.sott.net/articles/show/203166-The-writing-on-the-cave-wall)
Thinking generally about cave art, I also think the low light source, however that was obtained from short-last torches or from burning animal fats or whatever, may have animated the paintings to appear in ways we can't see with bright lights and as presented in books. Or maybe some paintings were for private or "special" use, such as paintings deep in the cave, and those closer to a cave's opening were for public use, and then aesthetics would really matter, because I suppose the artist would want to impress someone or someones in the public.
And then you have also have to consider how the artists chose topography to paint. Sometimes they'd scrape to flatten an area so they could properly paint, or sometimes they'd use the contour in the wall to enhance a feature or to create a 3-d effect. The latter would be an indication of some sort of aesthetic challenge.
Now that I'm thinking some more and speculating, I wonder why they would use color, as few as they used, if not for aesthetics. And also why go through all the bother to create the colors, which, except for black and red, was a time consuming endeavour.
Anyway, I'm just thinking as I type. I've no answers. Only speculations.