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Paleolithic Cave Painting

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Directions: An introductory sentence for a brief summary of the passage is provided below. Complete the summary by selecting the THREE answer choices that express the most important ideas in the passage. Some sentences do not belong in the summary because they express ideas that are not presented in the passage or are minor ideas in the passage. This question is worth 2 points.

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There are a number of arguments against the idea that Paleolithic cave paintings were created for the sheer joy of painting.

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正确答案:C D E
  • A.
    It is generally agreed that art as imitation arose during the age of Classical Greece.
  • B.
    Paleolithic artists often chose to paint pictures that were intended to frighten people.
  • C.
    People in the Paleolithic era may not have had time for art, and the placement of the paintings does not indicate that they were meant to be looked at.
  • D.
    Paleolithic artists chose to represent only a small segment of the natural world, and their paintings were not always strict imitations of nature.
  • E.
    Hunting was central to Paleolithic life, and animals are central to cave art, leading some to believe that the paintings were created to bring luck to hunters.
  • F.
    Humans were rarely the subjects of cave paintings because it was thought that capturing the image of a hunter would cause the hunter to be virtually trapped.

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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?

    为了艺术而创作艺术的这种简单认可具有一定的吸引力。把拉斯科洞穴看做画廊,它是某种特殊的观赏地,展示着杰出艺术家们的作品。或许,在旧石器时代欧洲的有些地方,日常生活或许没有那么艰难,有充足的现成食物,因此有闲暇时间来创作艺术。但是,这个解释的问题有很多。首先,大量的考古发现,包括一些无法追溯日期的世界上数不清的岩画遗址,都足以强调极其有限的题材。重现的形象是那些动物的。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。如果旧石器时代的艺术家们只是仅仅寻求象征他们周围世界的美好事物,难道他们不会留下更大范围的、如树木、鲜花、太阳和星星的绘画作品吗?

    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。

    最后,我们怀疑上旧石器时代是一个食物轻易获取的天堂、让人类有足够的时间用艺术来取悦自己这种看法。对于欧洲,它仍然处于冰川期。用于人类生存所必须的基本生计,估计在每天2200卡路里。结合在洞穴艺术中对于动物的鲜明强调,这个考虑使一些考古学家相信,旧石器时代壁画背后的主要动机一定与旧石器时代人们的主要活动有关:打猎。

    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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    文章结构:

     

    第一段:观点1最早人类艺术家单纯是为了绘画的快乐而作画。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。

     

    第二段:为了艺术而创作艺术的观点的问题1:题材的有限性。人物形象不常见,投入在动物身上的精力多。

     

    第三段:为了艺术而创作艺术的观点的问题2:大量的旧石器时代图像似乎完全不是任何现实的模仿。举例:法国Lot地区Pêche Merle的马。问题3:地点的因素。深处的壁画完全不适合任何形式的观赏。

     

    第四段:观点2恶劣环境及基本生计所需营养,结合在洞穴艺术中对于动物的鲜明强调,提出旧石器时代壁画背后的主要动机一定与旧石器时代人们的主要活动有关:打猎。

     

    第五段: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。图像具有在打猎中赋予成功和好运的魔力。

     

    答案:CDE

    题型:小结题

    解析:

    选项A错误,未提及作为模仿的艺术起源于古典希腊时代;

    选项B 错误,未提及旧石器时代的艺术家经常选择画一些意在吓唬人的画;

    选项C 正确,对应原文第三四段,旧石器时代的人可能没有时间从事艺术,这些画的摆放位置并不表明它们是用来观赏的;

    选项D正确,对应原文第二段,第三段,旧石器时代的艺术家只选择代表自然世界的一小部分,他们的绘画并不总是严格模仿自然;

    选项E 正确,对应原文四五段,狩猎是旧石器时代生活的核心,而动物是洞穴艺术的核心,这让一些人相信这些画的创作是为了给猎人带来好运;

    选项F 错误,人类很少是洞穴壁画的主题,但未提及人们认为捕捉猎人的形象会导致猎人实际上被困住。

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