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Cave Art Paperback – March 31, 2010


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Cave Art + The Cave Painters: Probing the Mysteries of the World's First Artists + The Mind in the Cave: Consciousness and the Origins of Art
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press; Reprint edition (March 31, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714857238
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714857237
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 1.1 x 11.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'Art, as this book makes beautifully clear, is a fundamental part of the human condition. ... [an] accessible and well-organised book ... This book [...] should please anybody interested in either art or prehistory ... And, in our fast-paced 21st-century world where art is so often equated with ephemeral values, it's salutary to be reminded of painting's enduring place in a society that lasted five times longer than the whole of recorded history.' Art World 'this sumptuous book improves on the reality: there are almost 250 photographs here, showing some of the finest examples of this mysterious underground art. ... If you want to really pore over this magnificent prehistoric artistic tradition, this is the book for you.' BBC History Magazine

About the Author

Jean Clottes (b. 1933) is the world expert on prehistoric art. A respected scholar, he taught in many universities around the world, including Toulouse (France), Berkeley (United States), Gerona (Spain) and Neuchatel (Switzerland). Still very active today, Clottes is involved in many international organizations. He is an expert at ICOMOS-UNESCO (International Committee on Monuments and Sites), a member of the High Council for Historical Monuments, and the president of IFRAO (International Federation of Rock Art Organizations). Clottes has published numerous books on the subject, including World Rock Art (Getty Foundation, 2002), Chauvet Cave (University of Utah Press, 2003) and The Shamans of Prehistory (Abrams, 1998). He received numerous awards, and was appointed Chevalier in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (1973), Chevalier in the Ordre de la Legion d'Honneur (2000) and Commandeur in the Ordre des Palmes Academiques (2007).

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Customer Reviews

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Beautiful reproductions and text.
Harry Frank
The photos of cave art are amazing, and the author shows a first-hand knowledge of the subject.
lenore
Clottes is an authority to trust in displaying the most important examples of this art.
R. Hardy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 64 people found the following review helpful By R. Hardy HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on January 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are interested in art history or just love looking at art, you'd certainly want to look at the earliest examples of art made by humans. You might conceivably buy enough air miles to see all the important works of western art, but many of the artworks shown in _Cave Art_ (Phaidon) by Jean Clottes you are never going to see, and the book's expansive and generous photographs are as close as you are going to get. You'd have to be an expert caver to get to some of the paintings shown here, and even so, many of them are in caves that are now closed to all but the most-degreed researchers. There are so many images here that one might think that there is a large store to draw from, but given that they range from 11,000 to 35,000 years old, it is amazing that the caves, always vulnerable to damage by water, time, and human activity, have preserved the treasures. Indeed, we may be getting a skewed, pinhole view of a larger artistic endeavor; if these artists were working during all those millennia on the outside, creating works on wood, sand, or hides, those works are long gone. The cave art was simply the best preserved, and sealed deep in the earth, it didn't start coming to light again until the nineteenth century.

Clottes is an authority to trust in displaying the most important examples of this art. An archaeologist with plenty of books and papers to his credit, he had a leading role in the study of the underwater Cosquer cave discovered in 1985 and the Chauvet Cave discovered in 1991. He summarizes the interpretations that have been put forward to explain these pictures, but it is safe to say that none of them clears the mysteries away. Why are there so few plants here, for instance? What do the abstract paintings here mean?
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Vladimir Makarov on August 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Excellent book, plenty of magnificent photograps, many of which have never been published before. The brief review of European prehistory is given for those interested in the subject. Highly recommended, I've read this book non-stop.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By William Mixon on June 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Jean Clottes's book is the ideal coffee-table book of Paleolithic cave art. The covers are an eighth of an inch thick, and the paper is about as thick as the cover on a typical mass-market paperback. The whole thing weighs four and a half pounds. There are a short introductory text followed by nearly 250 color photographs, mostly of painted or engraved art found deep in caves. The arrangement is chronological, with emphasis on Chauvet, Lascaux, and Niaux caves as representative of their periods, although many other caves are represented. Most of the photos are at least a half-page in size, and many cover a full two-page spread, which works well because the binding allows the book to open nearly flat anywhere. Each photograph is accompanied by a long paragraph of description, including a statement of scale. Still, I regret the customary lack of anything for scale in photos of Paleolithic art; reading that a bull in Lascaux is 395 centimeter long is not the same as seeing that for oneself.--Bill Mixon
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By G. Joy Robins on August 9, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is the next best thing to being in the caves themselves. For those of us who long to examine this ancient, yet so modern, art without grueling travel and extraordinary difficulty, this is the best way. The photos are amazing and give us access to the expression of early human's minds. In the text, Clottes helps us to see what might be almost impossible to spot unaided. He carefully avoids drawing conclusions that are not called for and leaves us to marvel at the work and wonder at the thought behind it. Cro-Magnon: How the Ice Age Gave Birth to the First Modern HumansThe Oldest Europeans: Who Are We? Where Do We Come From? What Made European Women Different?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Stephen Hubbard on September 12, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A beautifully printed, coffee-table size book with a wide variety of Neolithic art arranged by periods, chosen by an expert in the field and including some non-cave art which helps expand our understanding of these artists. The reproductions are excellent and make a good overview of the important sites, plus some much more recent and far-reaching art from Australia, China, etc that also contributes another aspect of this art.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ron R. Nath on August 4, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was looking for some reference material dealing with prehistoric art work and bought this book.

This is an excellent example of a "coffee table" book. it's large, heavy, and of high quality publishing standards.

It's very complete and covers the subject matter well. the well reproduced images stand out and the narrative is very thorough.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By jg5500 on April 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
This books is a bargain for the price. It has great full-color pictures and Jean Clottes is major authority on cave paintings. Personal Note: I saw French Cave art last year (Lascaux, Peche Merle, Rouffinac and Font de Gaume) and this book really brings those cave's paintings to life!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By lenore on February 19, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a beautiful and well-written book. The photos of cave art are amazing, and the author shows a first-hand knowledge of the subject.
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