20 Easy Case Study Topics on Prehistoric Art

Topics and ideas
Posted on July 28, 2016

Prehistoric art is one of the interesting essay subject matters out there due to the history and stories behind how our forefathers discovered art. Prehistoric art covers the time period before human literacy when art was the only form of communication and was also used as a medium of worship. And here is a brief introduction to Prehistoric art and the era that birthed it.

Prehistoric art refers to the first art forms created by humans, Homo erectus, before and after the Stone Age approximately 500,000 years ago. Archeological findings show that these art forms evolved over time from the first scratches on cave walls using animal bones to more advanced paintings and drawings using blow pipes and feathers. The art works of the Prehistoric are also divided into three sections according to the era they were created in order to study and better understand the motives that drove prehistoric artist to create art. These sections are the lower, middle and upper Paleolithic era and they occurred 40,000 to 500,000 years ago. Now, that the subject matter of prehistoric art has been introduced, this article will not attempt to go into the details of prehistoric art but will provide students with cool topics on this subject matter. So in that vein, here are 20 easy case study topics covering prehistoric art.

  1. Deducing the Lifestyle of Prehistoric Humans through the Study Prehistoric Art.
  2. Understanding Prehistoric Art and the Meaning behind its Art Forms
  3. Making a Case for Religion and its Influence on Prehistoric Art
  4. Craft, Style and Creative Patterns used by Prehistoric Artist.
  5. Exploring the Painting Tools and Materials used in the Prehistoric Era
  6. A Study of Artworks from the Lower Paleolithic Age
  7. A study of Artworks from the Middle and Upper Paleolithic Era
  8. The Object and Subject Matters that Influenced Prehistoric Art
  9. The Origin and History of Prehistoric Art
  10. Analyzing the Venus Figurines from the Prehistoric Age
  11. Fertility and its Role in Prehistoric Art Forms
  12. The Sculpting Techniques and Materials used in Creating Prehistoric Art
  13. Prehistoric Artists and Their Fascination with Animals
  14. Prehistoric Art: The Symbolic Journey of Humankind
  15. The Cave Art Painting of the Lascaux Cave
  16. Reproduction and Sexuality in Prehistoric Art
  17. The Affectivity of Prehistoric Art through the Ages
  18. Cave Art: Discovering Prehistoric Humans through Pictures
  19. Exploring the Treasure Troves of Prehistoric Art Caves across Europe
  20. Early Human Artists in the Paleolithic Era

These are some easy case study topics on prehistoric art that will help you kick start your essay or presentation on the topic of prehistoric art. The research required to develop content on the above listed topics is quite mild for research materials covering them can easily be found online or at your local/school library. Lastly, to aid your progress while drafting contents on any of the topics on the list we’ve also prepared a list of 10 selected facts for you as well as a complete guide on this topic and genre. Below is a sample case study written to provide some direction on how you should proceed.

Sample Case Study: Deducing the Lifestyle of Prehistoric Humans through the Study of Prehistoric Art

In most cases, art serves as a pictorial representation of the culture, religious beliefs and lifestyles of people in a community and prehistoric art is no different. Like contemporary artist, the artists from prehistoric times were influenced by their environment and how they perceived the world to be which they ended up depicting in the art works of their time. This means that it is possible to deduce how prehistoric man lived and made ends meet by studying the art forms their lives inspired. So here is an attempt to recreate prehistoric lifestyles using art works as the case studies or basis for deductions.

The earliest drawings by cave men, as seen in the Franco-Calabrian caves, depicted animals and the hunt 90% of the time. These drawings consisted of bison, reindeers, mammoths etc. with arrows or spears sticking out of them. Other images consisted of humans drawn in stick like form hounding these animals in what looks like a hunt. Here, one can deduce that prehistoric men were more carnivorous than omnivorous for their diet consisted primarily of meat and other fact that substantiates these deduction is the lack of permanent residence as well as little or no farming skills exhibited by prehistoric societies. Health-wise, a diet solely dependent on meat with not enough vegetables and fruits to supplement it means that prehistoric humans would have suffered from scurvy, mumps and other diseases related to Vitamin C deficiencies.

The paintings and drawings discovered in Indonesia’s Leang cave depicted rituals and ceremonies which were quite religious in nature. Although there is no proof that they believed in a supreme being, the gatherers and hunters who sought success in the fields in order to make it through the months believed in gods and goddesses of abundance, fertility and hunting.

The entire catalogue of the Venus Figurines show cased women in various stages of pregnancy which included large mammary glands, and extended stomach and hips section resembling a woman in an advanced stage of pregnancy. Studies have shown that these figurines were not sexual in nature but were created as goddesses or fertility talismans to aid childbirth. Here it is easy to deduce that prehistoric humans understood the importance of gathering enough food to stave off hunger as well as the need to procreate in order to populate the earth.

Even in prehistoric times, man had to find ways in which to keep themselves entertained and the bone flute items found in the Hohle Fel caves showed that they created music and may have told stories around community fires. The bone flute which was made from vulture bones and spotted 5 holes meant that prehistoric man was quite adept at creating multiple musical tunes to entertain or celebrate events.

In conclusion, these deductions showed that prehistoric man did all they could to survive the harsh environment of era gone by. They exhibited above average intelligence in hunting as well as high level creativity in terms of entertainment and creating the art works we pore over today.

Dobres, M. (1992). “Re-considering Venus figurines: A feminist-inspired re-analysis
Owen, R. & Porr, M. (1999). “Questioning stereotypical notions of prehistoric tool functions: Ethno-analogy, experimentation, and functional analysis.
Tringham, R. (1993). Review of: The civilization of the goddess.
Wikipedia: Prehistoric Art.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prehistoric_art
Francis, G. (2007). Religious Awareness in Art Forms from Prehistory to Today 3-5 http://www.crossroadsnyc.com/files/Greene_CaveArt.pdf
John, W. (2011). In African Caves Signs of an Ancient Paint Factory. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/14/science/14paint.html
The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, Vol. 97, No. 1 (1967), 95-97.

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