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Frontiers in Art Research, 2023, 5(17); doi: 10.25236/FAR.2023.051706.

Interpretation of the Visual Order of Animal Figures in Paleolithic Cave Paintings in Europe


Rongrong Bao

Corresponding Author:
Rongrong Bao

Shaanxi Normal University of Fine Arts, Xi 'an, 710119, China


The Paleolithic cave paintings in Europe during the Stone Age are the most convincing historical records of prehistoric human civilization. They represent the primary means of expression and the most valuable visual heritage of prehistoric human civilization. As the starting point of Western art, the interpretation of these cave paintings in the academic community has mainly focused on their functions and meanings. Representative theories include Taylor's "primitive magic", Fraser's "sympathetic magic", Kant, Schiller, and Spencer's "play", Engels and Plekhanov's "labor", Lu Xun's "on bison", and Wicke's "misplacement of emotions". However, if we shift our focus to the cave paintings themselves and explore the relationships and construction principles between different animal images, such as the presentation of high and low, top and bottom, far and near, connection and separation, and the temporal factors of before and after, we will discover the hidden constant principles or visual order within the Paleolithic cave paintings in Europe. This paper aims to interpret the visual order characteristics presented in the cave paintings through image analysis, while uncovering the inherent visual rules followed by humans in their initial attempts at using painting as a form of expression.


Paleolithic; Cave paintings; Animal figures; Visual order; Interpretation

Cite This Paper

Rongrong Bao. Interpretation of the Visual Order of Animal Figures in Paleolithic Cave Paintings in Europe. Frontiers in Art Research (2023) Vol. 5, Issue 17: 32-37. https://doi.org/10.25236/FAR.2023.051706.


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