Prehistoric Paintings

Reproduced by Thomas Baker

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Prehistoric Saharan rock art, reproduced in oil paint on a textured wooden panel by Thomas Baker

Reproduction of prehistoric Saharan rock art

(approx. 6,000 years old) by Thomas Baker

oil on plaster-textured wood panel

36 X 40 inches

This painting is available for purchase - $6500

Prints of this painting are available--click here for prices and ordering info

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Scenes of everyday life in a vanished world

Worldwide, prehistoric humans progressed from being hunters of wild animals to domesticating them. In the Lascaux cave painting also reproduced by Thomas Baker, the bison dominates the man, while in this African painting, done perhaps fifteen thousand years later, the situation is reversed--men (and women) are now in charge of the animals, a much better strategy for survival. Surprisingly, these rock paintings in the barren Tassili ni'Ajjer mountains of the Sahara Desert show that the vast desert of today was once a lush land of forests and flowing rivers (see more info on Saharan rock art). The unknown people who lived there left records of their daily lives painted on stone. This painting is a section of a much larger panorama of prehistoric life, and shows a herd of cattle tethered to a rope staked to the ground. The man in the center appears to be choosing one. Children (the small figures in front of him) seem to be taking instructions from him, while behind him a seated woman looks on.

It is an ancient artistic convention, seen also in the art of ancient Egypt and the Middle East, that the most important people in a group are shown as the largest, and so it appears to be here. The central man and woman are probably the leaders of the family or social group around them. Above this central group we see a man holding hands with a woman who appears to be speaking to another woman (could their halos of white paint represent speech?). Three other seated women converse at the bottom, while a boy pours a bucket of water on one of the three mysterious rings on the right side of the painting. The silhouettes of both the animals and people are remarkably natural and lifelike, showing excellent anatomical detail. The mineral pigments and method of painting are nearly identical to those used by the cave painters of Europe many thousands of years before.

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