Mankind’s art and rare moments of [extraterrestrial] insanity?
E.H. Gombrich’s The Story of Art [12th edition, Phaidon, London, 1950/1972] provides an erudite panoply of art from primitive eras to (relatively) modern times.
Cave art from Altamira, Spain and Lascaux, 15,000 years ago, shows that primitive man created what is known as representational art: art depicting things as they were:
Egyptian art depicted “reality” often using animal and human body parts co-joined [1400 B.C.:
But generally depicting “reality” as it was [1350 B.C. and 150 A.D.]:
The Greeks provided reality beautified, as seen here [from 25 B.C, and the 2nd Century B.C.]:
During the Middle Ages reality was still being depicted, even though that reality was allegorical [1000 A.D., 1255 A.D., 1508, 1628]:
Artists in the 1800s started to get imaginative but reality still prevailed:
Then there’s Picasso:
Art always stayed within realistic parameters, or did it?
How can we account for these depictions (some from Pearltree.com)?
One might attribute such odd paintings or sculptors to an insanity or pathological whim of primitive man, but neurology doesn’t allow that.
Schizophrenics or mentally afflicted humans can only depict (paint or draw) what they have received mentally via the senses; that is, a person cannot draw something that lies totally outside their experience.
Even wild drawings and paintings are rooted in symbols and images that stem from actual perception, no matter how distorted the original perception has become, unless….
… those drawings and painting derive from mystical or psychical images out of the unconscious, but early man had no unconscious or collective unconscious. [Jung ‘s Man and His Symbols, Dell/Laurel, NY, 1964, Page 31]
Some will say that psychedelics were involved, but even then the images have to come from experience – what is visually and mentally known or perceived beforehand (before the psychedelics took effect.
Bizarre visuals cannot come ex nihilo; they need a root reality.
So, while artists, through the ages, generally provided works showing, in essence, real perceptions, we have a few that indicate something not quite real.
Why? What did they see?
Was early man intruded upon by strange beings from portals outside the Earth. Or was early man subject to extraterrestrial visitations as the Alien Astronaut theorists suggest?
Or is mankind sometimes afflicted by images and experiences thrust upon them by something not Earthly but connected to this planet for reasons yet to be discovered?