Ancestors, the - Art - Collin Cleary, From The Stones Cry Out
Type of Spiritual Experience
I personally think that what is being represented is unity with Nature, the feeling of ecstasy one gets when one feels inseparable from other creatures on the planet. In this state one knows what it is like to be another animal, one 'is' in a sense that other animal, and thus one paints what one feels. It is why the paintings are so extraordinarily 'right' both technically and aesthetically
A description of the experience
Collin Cleary - From The Stones Cry Out - Cave Art & the Origin of the Human Spirit
..... most of the other theories about cave art are very disappointing. Even the exotic ones – the ones that claim the art has something to do with sympathetic magic or shamanism – are still insisting that it must have served some utilitarian purpose. These theories all basically fail to come to terms with the artistry of the paintings: with the obvious fact that these are works of individual creative genius, striving for aesthetic perfection………….. Though we can’t be sure of this, of course, the European cave art seems to be primarily an attempt, not to tell stories, but to create images for their own sake – and through those images to convey the essence of the animals depicted……………… I am inclined to think that something “shamanic” was probably going on here, or at the very least that the cave art had sacred significance of some kind. As Hegel taught us, there is a deep tie between art and spirituality – and this is particularly true the further one goes back in time. Also, the cave art is difficult to access: in some caves it takes a journey of several hours to reach the art (and in the Upper Paleolithic the journey was often made by crawling through narrow, cramped tunnels). Many authors have inferred that this meant the art had to have been invested with special significance; i.e., it was sacred, not profane art. And since we know that our ancestors did not actually live in these caves, most infer that the art was not mere decoration. I think that these inferences are entirely sound.
Altamira [below Chauvet]