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14 Feb

In the Stadel-Höhle Cave in Hohlenstein, Wetzel and Otto Völzing found approximately 200 fragments of ivory from a mammoth tusk that showed signs of carving, but they had little time to study their find, due to the outbreak of World War II.

The following is Part IA (Prehistoric Era – 399 CE) of my attempt to trace the history of human artistic endeavors by finding the best, most significant, and most highly-regarded works of visual art (primarily painting and sculpture) from all times and places and presenting them in chronological order.

The seven Art History 101 lists contain every work of art that was on at least two of the 24 ‘Best Works of Art’ lists that I collected from the Internet and books.

The purpose of the Venus of Willendorf and other Venus figurines is debated, but the sculptor’s emphasis on the female body’s sexual and childbearing characteristics has led many to conclude that this and other such figurines were fertility goddesses or otherwise played a role in fertility rituals.

The Venus of Willendorf is now at the Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna.

There are traces of red ochre on the figurine, indicating it was once painted.The type of limestone used was not found locally, indicating the existence of a trade network.The Pech-Merle cave in southern France runs for 1.2 miles and contains cave art from three different periods: Gravettian (25,000-20,000 BCE); Solutrean (20,000-15,000 BCE); and Magdalenian (15,000-10,000 BCE).The wall paintings include animals, human figures, hand stencils and many unexplained abstract markings.The culture is known for its many bone, stone, or clay statuettes of women, usually with large breasts, bellies, thighs, hips and buttocks, that are referred to as Venus figurines, even though they predate the Greco-Roman Venus mythology by many thousands of years.Many of the figurines are either headless or faceless. tall carved limestone figurine known as the Venus of Willendorf (see images above) was found in 1908 at a Paleolithic site in the Danube valley of Austria, near the town of Willendorf.If there are copyright concerns, please let me know.) Each entry includes the date of the work, the artist’s name, the name (or names) of the work, the style or culture associated with the work, and the location where the work was produced.In addition, I have included a brief essay with description (including measurements), artistic materials used, background and interpretation.