Aesthetics at its very limits: Art History meets cognition
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The aim with this master thesis is to prove that prehistoric art is worth the Westerners attention, not the least the attention of art historians. I am interested in placing prehistoric art/cave art in the spotlight, by reminding readers about the stunning craftsmanship and timeless beauty these paintings convey. I will do this by participating in an on- going scientific discourse, which reflects the wide range of scientists participating in the mystery we are facing: who painted this and why? I am interested in how our species started creating images, and also how our ancestors, who had never seen a painting before, were able to paint beautiful murals. The challenge alone in converting three-dimensional motifs to two- dimensional images is impressive. In terms of brain development, such a skill proves that these early Homo sapiens had a fully developed parietal cortex, the part of the brain perceiving 3D, perspective etc. My approach differs substantially from what is common in art history, quite simply by the fact that there is no common agreement as to whether my material is classified as art or not, at least in a Western sense of the word art, and all theoretical ways to explore art derives from western philosophical Aesthetics. I therefore prefer the word artification, as Ellen Dissanayake codes it. I am particularly interested in art in the perspective of cognitive development because findings within this research area are claiming that aesthetic experiences arise from the same neurophysiological processes that comprise the rest of our cognitive-perceptual-emotional life.