The most noticeable differences between Paleolithic and Neolithic art is of course their time periods. Paleolithic came first at around 30,000-9,000 B.C., when humans lived as hunter gatherers, while Neolithic came shortly after around 8,000-2,300 B.C. and humans adopted the settled agricultural life. Paleolithic consisted of stone tools, which may also be considered some type of art work in its own making. Painting and sculpture are the world’s oldest art forms and date back to the Paleolithic period. Painting was adhered to rough and smooth rock surfaces such as caves. Sculptures focused primarily on small carvings that were made out of anything including stones, bones, pieces of ivory and different types of clay. Paleolithic art wasn’t created only for aesthetic purposes but also for super natural experiences.
Just like many other art forms these Stone Age sculptures and statues along with story-telling paintings were probably believed to have some type of effects on animals and even society. For example “Venus of Willendorf” may have been sculpted in hopes of improving a woman or even a tribe’s fertility. On the other hand paintings of animals on cave walls may have been used to tell a story or assist hunting efforts within a tribe. In the Neolithic period, art had begun to change form from being limited to painting and sculptures to developing architecture and pottery. Paleolithic art wasn’t forgotten though; it was combined to create decorated pottery and intense sculptures during this time period. Settled life encouraged the development of pottery and experimentation of permanent architecture.
Many people during this time shifted their attention from cave walls towards the surfaces of pottery and their new found development of buildings (architecture). This architecture and pottery gave way to an even better painting platform due to its surface which was made from plaster. It’s also said that the people of this time were amazing thinkers, astronomers, and architects. One very notable type of architect includes what many know of today as Stonehenge.
It’s said to have possibly been used in religious ceremonies and some say it’s even been used to identify alignments of celestial events. Whatever the case be, many architects and scientists are still trying to figure out exactly how these stones were erected in order to create such a magnificent piece of architecture. Due to being prone to fading and crumbling only traces of Neolithic architecture work have survived the test of time. Pottery painting on the other hand, due to its baking, is extremely durable and many examples have been found today. These are just a few ways that Paleolithic and Neolithic art differ, I’m just glad there are at least traces left behind to tell their stories.