International Journal of Human Diversity and Evolution
Coverage: 1923-1941 (Vols. I-XIX) & 1962-2021 (Vols. 1-59)
ISSN 0323-1119 (Print)
ISSN 2570-9127 (Online)
Special Issue dedicated to the memory of Vladimír Novotný is in preparation.

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'Půtová B, 2016: Proto-art: The origins of non-utilitarian symbolic thinking and artistic creativity. Anthropologie (Brno) 54, 3: 175-185'.
The subject of this study is the genesis of proto-art, art and artistic creativity in prehistory. I tried to answer the questions of what art is, how it can be defined and when it originated, and how it developed. Therefore, special attention is paid to non-utilitarian demonstrations of human creativity during the Middle Paleolithic. There are several archaeologic finds suggesting that members of the Australopithecus were actually able to recognize aesthetic features in the structure of rocks (manuport) and members of the Homo heidelbergensis were able to create artefacts which had an aesthetic dimension. As these finds are rather sporadic, we can only speculate about the existence of proto-art for this period. Nevertheless, we see evidence of the origins of creative artistic thinking in Neanderthals who made artefacts which had, in addition to a utilitarian function, a decorative function. Yet the development of symbolic thinking dates to a later period: it occurred during the evolution of anatomically modern humans who made artefacts with geometric patterns as they moved across Africa. The real expansion of human creativity occurred in the Upper Paleolithic in Europe, when migrating members of Homo sapiens began to create a visualised world of symbolic art.
Art ‒ Proto-art ‒ Manuport ‒ Paleolithic period ‒ Artefact – Symbolic thinking ‒ Artistic creativity

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