One Hundred and Fifty Years of Prehistoric Art: A History of Paleolithic Images

The Rooms ENGAGING EVENINGS  are every Wednesday evening at 7pm  and consist of tours, lectures, discussions, artist’s talks, films, readings, workshops… Each week has something new – all wrapped up in an hour or two.

Wednesday evening,  April 1st, the Newfoundland and Labrador Archaeology Society and The Rooms are pleased to present Dr. Oscar Moro Abadia who will be speaking on the topic of One Hundred and Fifty Years of Prehistoric Art: A History of Paleolithic Images.

In Dr. Abadia’s own words:
Paleolithic art was first discovered in France in 1864, i.e. one hundred and fifty years ago. In this talk I review the history of the terms and ideas used to conceptualize Paleolithic art since the end of the nineteenth century. In the first place, I show how, during the period 1900-1970, prehistoric representations were typically divided into two main groups: ‘parietal art’ (including ‘rock’ and ‘cave’ art) and ‘portable’ (or ‘mobiliary’) art. This classification gave rise to asymmetrical attitudes towards Paleolithic images. In particular, while a small number of cave paintings were praised for their realism, portable representations were overlooked. In the second place, I examine how during the last forty years archaeologists have developed new frameworks within which more kinds of images can be meaningfully approached and incorporated into the analysis of Paleolithic art and symbolism. I suggest that the emergence of new approaches to Pleistocene imagery is the result of a number of interrelated processes including the globalization of Paleolithic art studies, the impact of new discoveries, and the development of new approaches to art, images and symbolism.

Dr. Abadia is an Associate Professor with the Department of Archaeology at MUN. He is an expert in Paleolithic art with a keen interest in the history of archaeology and science, and its relationship with First Nations and Inuit peoples.



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