托福official53阅读第3篇Paleolithic Cave Paintings题目解析

Paleolithic Cave Paintings
In any investigation of the origins of art, attention focuses on the cave paintings created in Europe during the Paleolithic era (c. 40,000-10,000 years ago) such as those depicting bulls and other animals in the Lascaux cave in France. Accepting that they are the best preserved and most visible signs of what was a global creative explosion, how do we start to explain their appearance? Instinctively, we may want to update the earliest human artists by assuming that they painted for the sheer joy of painting. The philosophers of Classical Greece recognized it as a defining trait of humans to "delight in works of imitation"—to enjoy the very act and triumph of representation. If we were close to a real lion or snake, we might feel frightened. But a well- executed picture of a lion or snake will give us pleasure. Why suppose that our Paleolithic ancestors were any different?

This simple acceptance of art for art's sake has a certain appeal. To think of Lascaux as a gallery allows it to be a sort of special viewing place where the handiwork of accomplished artists might be displayed. Plausibly, daily existence in parts of Paleolithic Europe may not have been so hard, with an abundance of ready food and therefore the leisure time for art. The problems with this explanation, however, are various. In the first place, the proliferation of archaeological discoveries—and this includes some of the world's innumerable rock art sites that cannot be dated—has served to emphasize a remarkably limited repertoire of subjects. The images that recur are those of animals. Human figures are unusual, and when they do make an appearance, they are rarely done with the same attention to form accorded to the animals. If Paleolithic artists were simply seeking to represent the beauty of the world around them, would they not have left a far greater range of pictures—of trees, flowers, of the Sun and the stars?

A further question to the theory of art for art's sake is posed by the high incidence of Paleolithic images that appear not to be imitative of any reality whatsoever. These are geometrical shapes or patterns consisting of dots or lines. Such marks may be found isolated or repeated over a particular surface but also scattered across more recognizable forms. A good example of this may be seen in the geologically spectacular grotto of Pêche Merle, in the Lot region of France. Here we encounter some favorite animals from the Paleolithic repertoire—a pair of stout-bellied horses. But over and around the horses' outlines are multiple dark spots, daubed in disregard for the otherwise naturalistic representation of animals. What does such patterning imitate? There is also the factor of location. The caves of Lascaux might conceivably qualify as underground galleries, but many other paintings have been found in recesses totally unsuitable for any kind of viewing—tight nooks and crannies that must have been awkward even for the artists to penetrate, let alone for anyone else wanting to see the art.

Finally, we may doubt the notion that the Upper Paleolithic period was a paradise in which food came readily, leaving humans ample time to amuse themselves with art. For Europe it was still the Ice Age. An estimate of the basic level of sustenance then necessary for human survival has been judged at 2200 calories per day. This consideration, combined with the stark emphasis upon animals in the cave art, has persuaded some archaeologists that the primary motive behind Paleolithic images must lie with the primary activity of Paleolithic people: hunting.

Hunting is a skill. Tracking, stalking, chasing, and killing the prey are difficult, sometimes dangerous activities. What if the process could be made easier—by art? In the early decades of the twentieth century, Abbé Henri Breuil argued that the cave paintings were all about “sympathetic magic. ” The artists strived diligently to make their animal images evocative and realistic because they were attempting to capture the spirit of their prey. What could have prompted their studious attention to making such naturalistic, recognizable images? According to Breuil, the artists may have believed that if a hunter were able to make a true likeness of some animal, then that animal was virtually trapped. Images, therefore, may have had the magical capacity to confer success or luck in the hunt.

1.According to paragraph 1, what is significant about the paintings in the Lascaux caves?

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【题目翻译】根据第1段,拉斯科斯洞穴中的绘画有什么重要意义? A:它们提供了生活在旧石器时代的法国公牛和其他动物的准确描述。 B:它们是旧石器时代有关日常生活的最好信息来源。 C:它们是现存最好的例子,可能是世界上最早的艺术运动之一。 D:它们是旧石器时代人类创造性表达的唯一证据。 【判定题型】题目问的是文章中的具体细节信息,故根据题目问法可以判断本题为事实信息题。 【关键词定位】:根据关键词“the paintings in the Lascaux caves”,定位到Passage 1,原句为Accepting that they are the best preserved and most visible signs of what was a global creative explosion……. 【逻辑分析】该定位句的意思是:承认它们是保存得最好的,也是全球最具创意的最明显的标志……所以从这些形容词中可以得知,这些绘画是世界上艺术运动的一种体现。 【选项分析】 选项A的意思是它们提供了旧石器时代最精确的对于牛和其他动物的描绘信息。不符,错误 选项B的意思是它们是描述旧石器时代日常生活最有效的信息源。不符,错误 选项C的意思是它们是最早的世界上的艺术运动的最好的存在例子。符合,正确 选项D的意思是它们是旧石器时代人类的创造性表达的唯一证据。不符,错误





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