Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Women and the Invention of Art

I'm not quite sure how the image at the head of this posting--a photograph of the paintings of hands from the Cueva de las Manos in Argentina--came on my radar screen some time ago. What I know is this: I found the image so intriguing that it was, until just a few days ago, the desktop picture on my computer.

And now I'm fascinated to read Virginia Hughes's article in National Geographic reporting on the work of archeologist Dean Snow of Pennsylvania State University, who has concluded that the vast majority of such prehistoric hand paintings were made by women--though there's long been a dogmatic assumption in the field of art history that men were chiefly responsible for almost all of the prehistoric art found in caves in various places in the world.

And so if Snow is correct, women rather than men "invented" art . . . . A discovery that might not have startled Judith Leyster, Mary Cassatt, Frida Kahlo, K├Ąthe Kollwitz, Georgia O'Keefe, etc. . . . 

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