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The Creative Ice Age Brain: Cave Art in the Light of Neuroscience Hardcover – February 1, 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Barbara Olins Alpert is an artist and art historian. She taught prehistoric art at the Rhode Island School of Design between 1988-2000. For many years she has been engaged in field research on rock art in the United States, France, Spain, Sweden, South Africa, India and Australia. A umber of her articles on Ice Age art have appeared in museum journals including Anthropologie published by the Moravske Museum, Brno, Czech Republic and I' Antropologie published by the Musee de l'Homme, Paris. Alpert's understanding of and approach to Ice Age art is deepened by an empathy drawn from her own experience in working with materials not unlike those used by Ice Age artists. She works in a variety of media related to drawing, painting and sculpture. In addition to exhibitions of her work in the United States she has shown work in Malta, Russia, China and Japan. Alpert is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, a summa cum laude graduate of Brown University and Life Member of the Art Student's League. She is listed in the UNESCO publication Who's Who in Rock Art.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 247 pages
  • Publisher: nyehaus/foundation 20 21; 2857th edition (February 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934171107
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934171103
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.2 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,570,808 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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In her book, The Creative Ice Age Brain, Barbara Olins Alpert answers the question of who were the makers of cave art and what did those transcendent images of bison, horse, and human hand mean. How did inaccessible caves become museum-like repositories for these brilliant renderings, both lifelike and abstract, that are equal to the work of contemporary artists? What techniques did the Paleolithic painter use and what do the images signify? A professional artist, herself, Alpert is a painter and sculptor. She is professor of art history and draws on encyclopedic knowledge to arrive at her unique conclusions.
This book is useful to layman and scholar alike. It contains extensive images, based on Alpert's research and site investigation of rock and cave art throughout the world. Her life long experience of making and teaching art give her insight to the natural talent of the ice age artist. Her conclusion--there is little difference between their inspired expression and the historical record of art throughout history, except perhaps better tools and 20,000 years. The aesthetic response is universal, persistent, and civilizingly human. Our brains are designed so that we cannot resist recording what we see and making art of it--the defining activity of our self awareness.
Alpert blends archeology, science, and the terminology of artistic technique into clear concise language. She takes the reader through a virtual world of cave and rock art, comparing it to artists known throughout the ages. She sheds light on the dark mystery of the cave, sustaining the reader's interest as her story unwinds, and she leaves us with a profound understanding of the human condition.
I heartily recommend The Creative Ice Age Brain.
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This is a beautifully produced book with excellent analogies between modern art and Upper Paleolithic cave art. It would make an excellent companion to my book "Cave Art and Climate Change" which shows that the motivation of this artwork was Ice Age climate change.
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BARBARA OLINS ALPERT'S EXPLORATION OF THE CREATIVITY OF THE ICE AGE BRAIN IS A FASCINATING BOOK WHICH WILL BE OF GREAT INTEREST TO ANYONE WHO WISHES TO EXPLORE HOW PREHISTORIC CAVE ART RELATES TO THE ARTISTRY OF, SAY, A PICASSO OR A MATISSE. THE CREATIVE SPARK TURNS OUT TO BE CLOSER THAN YOU MIGHT THINK.
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