Van Gogh, Pissarro, Seurat Used Ancient Painting Techniques, 38000-Year-Old Limestone Blocks Reveal


History is a mysterious tale, unfolding one chapter at a time. With each chapter something new is discovered about our culture and lifestyle.

Similarly a recent study has led to the discovery of the origins of the painting technique Pointillism, which was followed by many famous artists.

Randall White an anthropologist from New York University, and his team, discovered 16 limestone blocks which had engravings marked onto them 38,000 years ago. The engraving was done by the Aurignacian with using the technique Pointillism. Aurignacians were the earliest modern human culture in Europe.

What Is Pointillism?

For the unfamiliar, Pointillism is a type of painting where small dots are used to create an illusion of bigger images. It was earlier believed that the technique of Pointillism, used by several famous painters like Georges Seurat, Roy Lichtenstein, Camillie Pissarro, and Vincent Van Gogh during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, was developed in the 1880's.

However, this study has confirmed that the technique is an ancient one dating back more than 38,000 years.

"Now we can confirm this form of image-making was already being practiced by Europe's earliest human culture, the Aurignacian," said White.

What Did The Study Reveal?

White along with his team of researchers unearthed a total of 16 engraved and some modified limestone blocks. The team discovered paintings, created with Pointillism of animals like mammoths and horses, which confirmed that Aurignacian's did use the technique during their time.

Apart from this discovery, White and his team made another similar breakthrough in 2016 in Western Eurasia. Here the team unearthed a pointillist painting of an aurochs or wild cow, dating back 38,000 years.

Yet another discovery of a pointillist image of a woolly mammoth was found in Abri Cellier, which has been on the list of several archaeologists for many years.

The limestone blocks which revealed the origin of Pointilism were found when White and his team went back to the Cellier archaeological site in 2014 in hopes of getting intact slabs of rocks for better understanding. This is when they discovered 16 limestone slabs, one of which one was radiocarbon dated and revealed that it was 38,000 years old.

The limestone blocks were discovered by early excavators but were not taken in for further examination as the engravings on them were too undeveloped to understand and interpret.

With this new discovery White and his team of researchers, have increased the knowledge of the early graphic art form by 40 percent. His team includes researchers from University Of Oxford, University of Toulouse, University of Toronto and Paris' Museum of Natural History.

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