Face in the crowd, John Hallmén
Are These Cave Paintings The First Animations?
Over at Nautilus, Zach Zorich illuminates how 21,000 year-old cave paintings at Lascaux may represent an early form of motion picture.
Many of the superimposed animal shapes, like the deer heads above (photo by Norbert Aujoulet), can appear to move like a flip-book when they are viewed with the dim, flickering light sources that would have been available to Paleolithic humans. Combine it with some low-light trickery on behalf of the visual system, and you’ve got cave-toons:
Physiologically, our eyes undergo a switch when we slip into darkness. In bright light, eyes primarily rely on the color-sensitive cells in our retinas called cones, but in low light the cones don’t have enough photons to work with and cells that sense black and white gradients, called rods, take over. That’s why in low light, colors fade, shadows become harder to distinguish from actual objects, and the soft boundaries between things disappear. Images straight ahead of us look out of focus, as if they were seen in our peripheral vision. The end result for early humans who viewed cave paintings by firelight might have been that a deer with multiple heads, for example, resembled a single, animated beast.
Storytelling, visual or otherwise, is simply part of what makes human.
Previously: Archaeologist Marc Azema has found similar story-paintings at Chauvet, even older than Lascaux!
Nymph of the River Dargle -Frederic Leighton
Claire Bull » Spring Daffodils
Achilles Heel Tuesday 15/04/14.
Drive west for six hours and you will come to a small crossroads. Turn right and with each 360 degree downhill bend, time thickens. At the timeless bottom of this narrow valley look up and you’ll see trees fringing a perfect green arc over a farm that’s balancing on trees above a cow shed above your head. A heard of sheep, one above the other, trail newborn lambs along narrow terraces. Moss climbs to the tops of trees and hangs off in tendrils. Ferns grow in moss in the crowns of trees. Life is stacked high in this complicated network of steep sided valleys. Each little trickle that joins the stream, lies in the bottom of it’s own deep ravine, creating a maze of hidden gullies, treacled with time, completely snaring the unwary traveller.
Burnham Overy Mill, Norfolk
Signed A. Lothe. Water colour
André Lhote (1885 - 1962)
Les fiancés, 1908
Huile sur toile
Les deux amies (1925). André Lhote (French, 1885-1962). Pastel on board.
In 1917, after discharge from the army, Lhote became one of the Cubist group supported by Léonce Rosenberg; also began to write regularly for the Nouvelle Revue Française. Taught at the Académie Notre-Dame des Champs 1918-20 and afterwards at various other art schools, including one he founded in Montparnasse.