These add weight to previous isolated discoveries, such as a rhinoceros, from the Grotte Chauvet in France, formed by the application of dozens of dots, first painted on the palm of the hand, and then transferred to the cave wall.
Earlier this year, White’s team reported the uncovering of a 38,000-year-old pointillist image of an auroch or wild cow — a finding that marks some of the earliest known graphic imagery found in Western Eurasia and offers insights into the nature of modern humans during this period.
The Tretyakov State Gallery, The State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow Art Media Museum, the Museum of Circus Art to the Grand Saint Petersburg Circus, the Museum of the Union of Russia’s Circus Artists, Heritage Foundation of Artist A. Some of the works at the MMOMA exhibition are well known to the public; others have never been exhibited before.
The exhibition comprises works of the classic Russian Avant-garde artists: Alexander Rodchenko, Vladimir Dmitriev, Alexandra Exter, Vladimir Sterligov, and Mark Chagall.
Abri Cellier has long been on archaeologists’ short-list of major art-bearing sites attributed to the European Aurignacian.
The painting technique we call pointillism, which uses small distinct dots to create images, grew from Impressionism in the 1880s, but newly discovered rock artworks, including images of horses, show its origins are far older.
The trove of 16 engraved and otherwise modified limestone blocks, created 38,000 years ago, confirms the ancient origins of the pointillist techniques later adopted by 19th and 20th century artists such as Georges Seurat, Vincent Van Gogh, Camille Pissarro, and Roy Lichtenstein.
“We’re quite familiar with the techniques of these modern artists,” observes New York University anthropologist Randall White, who led the excavation in France’s Vézère Valley.
“But now we can confirm this form of image-making was already being practiced by Europe’s earliest human culture, the Aurignacian.” Major discoveries by White and his colleagues — which include images of mammoths and horses — confirm that a form of pointillism was used by the Aurignacian, the earliest modern human culture in Europe.