Conclusions

The oldest horse depictions in the parietal art of the Quercy (between 25,000 and 28,000 years ago) are simpliWed, most often in absolute proWle, and drawn in a linear fashion. They present a constant association of particular graphic conventions, the grouping of which seem to characterize this phase: miniaturized head and 'duck-bill' shape, arch-shaped mane, very curved back, hanging belly, X-shaped legs. In isolation these conventions have no chronological value.

In these early depictions we also observe techniques and episodic markings that, in contrast, express an occasional search for detail and animation which would become stronger later.

On the other hand, the artists of the Middle Magdalenian, in the Quercy as elsewhere, depict living horses, animated and strangely present on the walls. The internal details, the depiction of the coat and animation are constant.

So an art that symbolizes the idea or the essence of the depicted subjects seems to be followed by an art that is more concerned with appearances; a change of this kind in techniques and style is doubtless linked to an evolution of beliefs and the social functions of the art.

References

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