Thursday, January 21, 2021

Pig art is some of the BEST art!

I’d be really interested to hear an art historian with a deep understanding of pigment and process look at this oldest known artistic depiction of the animal world and deconstruct why there are two slightly different shades of red.

Most of the figure is done in a dark burgundy, but then there is a warmer ochre tone which looks like it expanded on the original image perhaps (*) – and one (left!) hand print in the darker color, then a right hand print in the warmer color. And even the darker burgundy color – there are many more “brush strokes” along the back of the animal in that color, where the body is much less saturated. Was there more “coloring” as the artist got the shape and size just the way they wanted it?

* Was this image complete, and the second “hand” added to it, made the pig larger and more fearsome? Were two artists working together, and the second color representing something – an aura of the spirit of the animal, a ridge of hair raised as the pig encountered the other pigs (do pigs “ridge back” as other animals do? They are mammals after all, and even humans’ hair stands on end on our necks when we are on alert)? Is it possible one color was laid down, and long after, the second color was added by a prehistoric critic? Or are there two tones because one pot of mixed pigment simply ran out?

I am prompted to recall: many of these “hand print” paintings were studied several years ago, and a new conclusion was reached that researchers had never come to before: that they were women’s hands.