Official 53 Passage 3


Paleolithic Cave Painting


According to paragraph 2, which of the following is true about human figures as subjects of rock art?

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  • A
    Human figures almost always appear alone and never appear with animals.
  • B
    Images of humans are both rarer and less accurately drawn than those of animals.
  • C
    Some of the most beautiful images in Paleolithic rock art are of human figures.
  • D
    There is more variety in how humans are depicted in cave art than in how animals are.
正确答案: B

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  • In any investigation of the origins of art, attention focuses on the cave paintings created in Europe during the Paleolithic era (C. 40,000-10,000 years ago) such as those depicting bulls and other animals in the Lascaux cave in France. Accepting that they are the best preserved and most visible signs of what was a global creative explosion, how do we start to explain their appearance? Instinctively, we may want to update the earliest human artists by assuming that they painted for the sheer joy of painting. The philosophers of Classical Greece recognized it as a defining trait of humans to "delight in works of imitation"-to enjoy the very act and triumph of representation. If we were close to a real lion or snake, we might feel frightened. But a well-executed picture of a lion or snake will give us pleasure. Why suppose that our Paleolithic ancestors were any different?

    This simple acceptance of art for art`s sake has a certain appeal. To think of Lascaux as a gallery allows it to be a sort of special viewing place where the handiwork of accomplished artists might be displayed.Plausibly , daily existence in parts of Paleolithic Europe may not have been so hard, with an abundance of ready food and therefore the leisure time for art. The problems with this explanation, however, are various. In the first place, the proliferation of archaeological discoveries-and this includes some of the world`s innumerable rock art sites that cannot be dated-has served to emphasize a remarkably limited repertoire of subjects. The images that recur are those of animals. Human figures are unusual, and when they do make an appearance, they are rarely done with the same attention to form accorded to the animals. If Paleolithic artists were simply seeking to represent the beauty of the world around them, would they not have left a far greater range of pictures-of trees, flowers, of the Sun and the stars?

    A further question to the theory of art for art`s sake is posed by the high incidence of Paleolithic images that appear not to be imitative of any reality whatsoever. These are geometrical shapes or patterns consisting of dots or lines. Such marks may be found isolated or repeated over a particular surface, but also scattered across more recognizable forms. A good example of this may be seen in the geologically spectacular grotto of Pêche Merle, in the Lot region of France. Here we encounter some favorite animals from the Paleolithic repertoire-a pair of stout-bellied horses. But over and around the horses` outlines are multiple dark spots, daubed in disregard for the otherwise naturalistic representation of animals. What does such patterning imitate? There is also the factor of location. The caves of Lascaux might conceivably qualify as underground galleries, but many other paintings have been found in recesses totally unsuitable for any kind of viewing-tight nooks and crannies that must have been awkward even for the artists to penetrate, let alone for anyone else wanting to see the art.

    Finally, we may doubt the notion that the Upper Paleolithic period was a paradise in which food came readily, leaving humans ample time to amuse themselves with art. For Europe it was still the Ice Age. An estimate of the basic level of sustenance then necessary for human survival has been judged at 2200 calories per day. This consideration, combined with the stark emphasis upon animals in the cave art, has persuaded some archaeologists that the primary motive behind Paleolithic images must lie with the primary activity of Paleolithic people: hunting.

    Hunting is a skill. Tracking, stalking, chasing, and killing the prey are difficult, sometimes dangerous activities. What if the process could be made easier-by art? In the early decades of the twentieth century, Abbé Henri Breuil argued that the cave paintings were all about "sympathetic magic." The artists strived diligently to make their animal images evocative and realistic because they were attempting to capture the spirit of their prey. What could have prompted their studious attention to making such naturalistic, recognizable images? According to Breuil, the artists may have believed that if a hunter were able to make a true likeness of some animal, then that animal was virtually trapped. Images, therefore, may have had the magical capacity to confer success or luck in the hunt.

  • 在任何艺术起源的调查研究中,注意力都聚焦在旧石器时代(约4万-1万年前)产生于欧洲的洞穴壁画上,比如法国拉斯科洞穴的那些描绘公牛和其他动物的壁画。 在承认它们是保存最好的以及是全球艺术爆发最显著的标志时,我们如何开始解释他们的出现呢?直觉上,我们或许会以现代的思想来揣度最早人类艺术家的看法,认为他们是为了绘画的纯粹快乐而作画。古典希腊时期的哲学家认为这是人类的典型特征--“模仿的快乐”,享受描绘行为本身及成就。如果我们靠近一头真狮子或者蛇,我们或许会感到害怕。但是一副画得很好的狮子和蛇却能给我们带来快乐。何以会以为我们旧石器时代的祖先会有什么不同呢?


    关于为了艺术而创作艺术的理论另外一个问题是,大量的旧石器时代图像似乎完全不是任何现实的模仿。这些几何形状或者图案由点或者线组成。这样的符号可以在一个特定的表面单独或重复出现,但也可能散布在更多可以识别的类型中。一个很好的例子出现在法国Lot地区Pêche Merle的地质学上壮观的洞穴里。 在这里,我们遇到了一些来自旧石器时代常见内容、最受欢迎的动物--两只腹部隆起的马。但是在四周,马的轮廓是许多黑点,胡乱涂抹,完全不顾及原本动物的自然表现。这样的图案模仿的是什么? 此外,还有地点的因素。拉斯科的洞穴或许可以想象,适合作为秘密的画廊,但是在深处发现的许多其他壁画完全不适合任何形式的观赏--狭窄的角落和裂缝,即使对艺术家来说要穿过去,一定都很奇怪,更别说对于任何想要去观看艺术的人了。


    打猎是一门技术。追踪、悄悄跟踪、追逐、并猎杀猎物是困难、有时危险的活动。如果这个过程可以通过艺术变得简单,将会如何呢?在二十世纪早期,Abbé Henri Breuil认为,洞穴壁画全与“共感巫术”有关。艺术家们不断努力使他们的动物画形象和逼真,因为他们试图捕捉猎物的灵魂。是什么促使他们专注于制造这些自然的容易识别的图像呢?据Breuil所说,艺术家们可能相信,假如猎人能够画出某些动物的真实写照,那么那只动物几乎已被捕获。因此,图像具有在打猎中赋予成功和好运的魔力。
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    解析:定位原文Human figures are unusual, and when they do make an appearance, they are rarely done with the same attention to form accorded to the animals. 人物形象不常见,并且当人物出现的时候,绘制的精力和投入在动物身上的精力无法相比。对应B选项rare=unusualless accurately drawn =rarely done with the same attention