THE PORTABLE ART OF THE ICE AGE

SCULPTING THE PALAEOLITHIC

 
Own 3 Limited Edition Sculptures prehistoric portable art of the Ice Age
 
British Museum Ice Age Arrival of the Modern Mind
Ice Age: Arrival of the Modern Mind
The artist Peter Lyell Robinson considers the phenomenon of sculpture, from the Portable art of the Ice Age to current work, and how the human urge to create, as well as some of the techniques of sculpture, span vast tracks of time. For the artist, the 'form' of the sculpture is everything; inter-related shapes, working in harmony, and resolved as a whole. But is this a new approach, or are there deeper roots to this study of form and shape?
 
An opportunity arose in 2013 when the artist was approached by Dr Jill Cook of the British Museum and commissioned to create 3 sculptures based on prehistoric portable art, as part of the exhibition 'Ice Age: Arrival of the Modern Mind'. The 3 chosen - the Lion Man, the Vogelherd horse and the Lespugue figurine – were done so because of their power, elegance and singularity of line.
 
For the three-dimensional nature of form, the artist works on the sculptures by 'profile'; a sculpture has an almost infinite number of profiles, and by going from one to the next, the artist is able to harmonise the inter-related shapes, working around the sculpture until every profile is in harmony with the others. It was this process that allowed Peter Lyell Robinson to understand how each of the original artists had created their masterpieces. This liminal experience allowed the artist to re-imagine the mind of the Palaeolithic artist, to connect in defiance of time.
 
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THE LION MAN

 
Lion Man Ice Age Sculpture
Sculpture inspired by the Ice Age 'Lion Man from Stadel Cave' carving
$235
 
This standing human figure with a lion’s head is sculpted from mammoth ivory. It was found in many pieces and parts of the front of the body are missing. The stance and muscularity of the shoulders suggest a man standing on tip toes with arms to his sides. The left upper arm is marked with incisions which might represent tattoos or scarring. The head faces forward in an alert stare emphasised by a powerful jaw line and upright ears. Is this a man wearing a lion headdress, or is it a mythical or supernatural being?
 
Lion Man
Age: 40,000 years old
Discovered: Stadel Cave on the Hohlenstein, Germany
Actual size: 28.1 cms tall; 6.3 cms wide; 5.9 cms thick
Sculpture: Limited Edition of 250
Medium: Plaster, hand-painted with natural pigment
Sculpture dimensions: 24 cms tall [overall 28cms]; 6 cms wide; 5 cms thick

THE VOGELHERD HORSE

 
Sculpture inspired by the Ice Age 'Vogelherd Horse' carving
$235
 
This carving is the oldest known sculpture of a horse. Sculpted from mammoth ivory it is part of an originally more rounded representation with longer legs and tail. The head is complete and shows the engraved mouth, nostrils and eyes. The ears are alert and the neck arched. The mane, back and sides are marked with crossed diagonal incisions. Is this a stallion trying to impress a mare or a horse arching and kicking backwards against a predator?
 
Vogelherd Horse Ice Age Sculpture
Vogelherd Horse
Age: 32,000 - 35,000 years old
Discovered: Vogelherd Cave, near Stetten, southwest Germany
Actual size: 4.8 cms wide; 2.5 cms high; 0.7 cms thick
Sculpture: Limited Edition of 250
Medium: Plaster, hand-painted with natural pigment
Sculpture dimensions: 10 cms tall [overall 21cms]; 14 cms wide; 4 cms thick

THE LESPUGUE FIGURINE

 
Lespugue Figurine Ice Age Sculpture
Sculpture inspired by the Ice Age 'Lespugue Figurine' carving
$235
 
Carved from mammoth ivory, this sculpture is one of the taller female figurines of Ice Age art. Found beside an excavated camp fire near the top of the deposits in the Cave of Rideaux, the figure was damaged on the front by a blow from a pickaxe and is reconstructed in this sculpture. The lozenge shaped outline of the figure encompasses a small round head with no face. The neck and shoulders are well defined and thin arms bend round to rest above the large pendulous breasts which cover a slight but prominent stomach and rest against huge buttocks. The thighs are large and curve into the knees below which the lower legs are vestigial. On the back, engraved vertical lines hang from a horizontal line below the buttocks, which may represent an apron. The characteristics of the Lespugue figurine have been interpreted as indicative of obesity and or pregnancy by those who wish to see the sculpture as a realistic representation. However, should we only be looking for realism or, is this an intellectual image in which the mind’s eye has emphasised the meaningful aspects of this woman’s body? Is this a reflection on the origins and nourishment of life rather than simply the female form?
 
Lespugue Figurine
Age: 24,000 - 22,000 years old
Discovered: Grottes de Rideaux, Lespugue, Haute-Garonne, France
Actual size: 14.4 cms high; c.6.4 cms wide; c.3.5 cms thick
Sculpture: Limited Edition of 250
Medium: Plaster, hand-painted with natural pigment
Sculpture dimensions:14 cms tall [overall 28cms]; 6 cms wide; 4 cms thick
 
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