Antony Gormley, 'How Art Began'
Last night the BBC broadcast an excellent, I though inspirational, programme made by the sculptor Antony Gormley called How Art Began. It tracks the origins of cave painting in prehistoric times backwards and across the globe. He begins in France and Spain and moves to Indonesia and then Australia. In the process he reveals how recent work done in archaeology and historical anthropology has revealed the origins of art to be vastly older and more geographically diverse than had been supposed. Even raising the strong possibility that cave art in Europe pre-dated Homo Sapiens and had Neanderthal beginnings. Gormley offers himself as an incisive and intelligent guide to these earliest art works accounting for current theories about them. Above all, he proves to be a subtle and humane interpreter of this art which he suggests reveal not only the origins of artistic creation by human beings but also much about the nature and objectives of art more generally. Art is firmly established as the most primary of human activities. The programme is currently available on BBC i-player for those with access to it.