chapter  2
14 Pages

Gestural Origins of Drawing and Painting

From Pre-History to Aesthetic Space
ByPaul Crowther

This chapter deals with the intrinsic meaning of drawing and painting at length. It traces the intuitive meanings tacitly present in any drawn or painted marks. The chapter explains the intuitive basis of something having intrinsic significance, and offers a detailed phenomenology of the zigzag patterns. Creation in an enduring medium also transforms the meaning of the line and the significance of optical illusion. In the engravings the fundamentals of human perception, gesture, space-occupancy, and mental imagery, are concentrated and made to endure. Lewis-Williams suggests that “the symmetry more probably resulted from learned skills than a desire for beauty.” The fact that the engravings are on small independent pieces of shell or ochre does not suggest that they would have been used as body adornments. The homo erectus engraving is simply inscribed on a shell. The homo sapiens ochre has been ground at surface level, to make it flatter.