When I think of illustration, I usually don’t think of cave paintings for some reason. But I was looking up vintage illustrations and I started to wonder about even older art, so this is what I came across. These paintings are from the Ice Age and are in a cave in Southwest France. The materials used to make it are natural pigments and charcoal.
When I’m in Art History we talk a lot about wealthy patrons paying famous painters money to create these beautiful paintings so they can hang them in their homes. And while I respect that practice, it seems interesting to consider that cave paintings (while we can’t know exactly what their purpose was, when they often lack a written word to explain them) could have easily had great significance in documenting what animals were around to hunt, paying homage to who killed what animal, keeping a historical record to remember a person’s life with, telling legends, and in general expanding upon what the human imagination could do.
I’ve read somewhere before, that ancient hunter gatherer societies actually had a lot of free time. It seems interesting to imagine that as soon as people were fed and had shelter, they thought; “Hey, let’s crush up this flower and make lines with it on the wall!” And thus, art was born.