The painting selected for discussion is called the horses of Pech Merle. It is located in the caves of Pech Merle in France. The cave contains other fascinating works of prehistoric art but the spotted horses are the most famous ones. The painting is dated approximately 25,000 BCE (“The Horses of Pech Merle,” 2015). It depicts two animals that by the shape of their torsos resemble horses facing in separate directions. Dark areas on their necks seem to be manes. The painting does not seem to depict them in action. Instead, the two horses are just standing still. Above and below the horses are human handprints that can be deemed as some sort of a signature of the prehistoric author. The theme of the painting seems to follow the pattern of the artists of that era as they usually pictured the sceneries of their daily lives.
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The most debatable and significant part of the painting is the mysterious dots that were originally viewed as a part of horses’ appearance at that time. However, Alpert (2013) argues that these marks do not actually signify an accurate depiction of animals’ hide patterns but have a symbolic meaning. In her paper, she notices that similar dots were present in the cave paintings created by other cave cultures and may tell the viewer something about the author’s intention. Alpert (2013) suggests that the dots were used to create an emotional response close to a thrill triggered by the dots if viewed in the flickering light of the torch. This fascinating theory creates a ground for further research into cave art that may lead to other revelations. Thus, there is probably more meaning in those primitive paintings than meets the eye.
Alpert, B. O. (2013). The meaning of the dots on the horses of Pech Merle. Arts, 2(4), 476–490. Web.
Hall, S., Evans, J., & Nixon, S. (2013). Representation. London, UK: Sage Publications.
The horses of Pech Merle. (2015). Web.