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Title Prehistoric and Traditional Art: At the Borders of Art History, Archaeology and Ethnology
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About author Palaguta, Ilia Vladimirovich — full doctor, head of Art History department. Saint Petersburg Stieglitz State Academy of Art and Design, Solianoi per., 13, 191028 St. Petersburg, Russian Federation.
In the section Art and Artistic Culture of the Ancient World. Archaeological Object and a Work of Art: Their Similarities and Differences DOI10.18688/aa177-1-2
Year 2017 Volume 7 Pages 2232
Type of article RAR Index UDK 7.031 Index BBK 85.103(0)2

Despite the fact that the forms of art of prehistoric and traditional societies influenced the development of the 20th-century Western Art, many of its aspects remain unresolved, and in its understanding stereotypes sometimes prevail that are based on simplified interpretations of anthropological theories. The term “primitive art” applied to those art-objects that were created in the societies, which had not reached the level of state institutions (“early complex societies”), does not seem to be quite successful. Many of the evaluation criteria and the terms used in this field of studies require revision.

The main problem in the study of art-objects produced in prehistoric and traditional societies grows fromlimited information, and it is necessary to proceed with critical analysis of information sources. The solution tothis problem requires full-fledged use of the fundamentals and methods of the related disciplines: archaeologyand ethnology (cultural anthropology). It is also necessary to take into account the factor of “invention oftraditions”, which has strongly affected interpretations of images and decorative motives. These views that developed during the formation of ethnography later have entrenched in the historiography.

On the other hand, methods of studies in fine arts history appear to be effective. The use of approach based on combination of formal, iconographic and iconological analysis allows us to go beyond stereotypes that existamong archaeologists and ethnologists. In studies of archaic societies’ art, scholars should develop approaches to study ornament. Its rhythmic structure, symmetric construction of compositions and motifs help allocate ornament in a special art form (not so much to figurative, but to musical), which is based on the principles of artificial geometric organization of space. As for the semantic aspect of ornament, it is basically formed on the principles of free associations. For the first time proposed by the author of the article complete review of the abundant material created from Palaeolithic era up to modern traditional societies can significantly extend the boundaries of art studies.

Reference Palaguta, Ilia V. Prehistoric and Traditional Art: At the Borders of Art History, Archaeology and Ethnology. Actual Problems of Theory and History of Art: Collection of articles. Vol. 7. Ed. S. V. Mal’tseva, E. Iu. Staniukovich-Denisova, A. V. Zakharova. — St. Petersburg: St. Petersburg Univ. Press, 2017, pp. 22–32. ISSN 2312-2129.
Publication Article language russian
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