How Cavemen Artists Got Their Rocks Off
Join the club, Cro-Magnons. New research suggests that prehistoric artists were as obsessed with the female form as artists are today.
Rock engravings and traces of painting discovered in France show what appear to be representations of female genitalia, according to findings published by the National Academy of Sciences. The finds are estimated to date back some 37,000 years, making them among the world’s oldest known works of art.
The discovery was made in 2007 and announced last week by Randall White, an anthropology professor at New York University. The works were uncovered at an archeological site in southern France known as Abri Castanet, which is one of the oldest sites in Eurasia that contain evidence of symbolism among Homo sapiens. In an interview with Discovery News, White said that the artwork “is associated with members of some of the first modern human populations to leave Africa, dispersing into Eurasia and replacing the preceding Neanderthals.”
Of course, the notion that artists can become preoccupied with female body parts is old news to anyone familiar with—oh, I don’t know—Picasso, Schiele, Degas, Wesselmann, Dali, Moreau, de Kooning, O’Keefe, the guy who carved the Venus of Willendorf, and any number of manga fanboys. Nevertheless, the new finds mark the oldest known example of prehistoric artwork in which the dominant motif represents abstract female sex organs, although White concedes that “other interpretations are possible.”
So was Picasso’s genius the result of an exceptional creative fixation, or is being a sex-obsessed tortured artist so easy a caveman could do it?
Either way, you can read the full story at Discovery News.