Creating a new board on Pinterest helped remind me of a pair favourite art objects. Many years ago I had a great interest in the ancient goddess culture of old Europe, and recently finding images of some of these objects found in archaeological digs, I came across a pair of small terracotta sculptures of a woman and a man, known as the Cernavoda woman and man. They were grave objects, about 4.5 inches in height, and found near the Danube, Romania, in an area known as Hamangia, and date around 4000-3500 BC. These figures aren’t typical objects of the time in that they aren’t stylised in the same way, or decorated. In fact they appear very contemporary and sophisticated in style. Scholars can only guess as to their meaning but the person who made them was possibly the neolithic equivalent of Picasso or Rembrandt!…the little figures are beautiful and contemplative and very striking in form. The male figure is sometimes called “The thinker” of the Neolithic. So here they are, modernist 20th century pieces in style, yet ancient artworks of the month.
I’m posting my regular “Artwork of the Month” a bit early this time….due to my computer problem. I will have to use an old image from my library and talk about that. But that’s ok….learning to embrace the circumstances! So this month it’s “Two goddesses with moons”.
This is quite an old painting and I’ve shown it before as part of a group of old paintings in an earlier blog. This painting depicts a symbolic landscape referencing neolithic times and the earth goddesses which prevailed during this period. I’ve placed them in a natural landscape, as they were goddesses of the earth. They have no particular names as there’s no written history for those times, but names are not important. They represent ancient people’s connection to the planet, and I like to reflect on this continuity for us today; reconnecting with the earth and respecting nature. The painting was made with oil paints and contains many symbols. These symbols are 4 moons, a triangle representing the feminine, a spiral (the cycle of life), and another circle, and a small zigzag symbol which according to research means something like “rain”. So we have quite a big collection of symbols creating layers of meaning. The goddesses are large earth mother types which was favoured in those times and their faces were never represented realistically…more like masks. And masks were possibly used in rituals during the neolithic period. The connection to the planet was a matter of survival for such people’s and throughout eastern Europe many such figurines have been unearthed from archeological sites, mostly featuring typically, these styled goddess figures and also a smaller group of male gods that seem to have less importance. So we can see from this research that fertility of the earth, it’s crops, and a bountiful supply of what people needed to live was upper most in their minds…hence the large amount of ritual objects. I was making a lot of research about these finds at the time of painting this picture, and others similar. It’s always interesting to go over old stuff and see it in a new light or simply refresh the memory. Hope you enjoy the image of the goddesses and the accompanying information.
NEW PAGE ADDED!…..VERY OLD PAINTINGS.
Just letting you know I’ve added a new page for “Old paintings” which is under Gallery Archives…it’s titled “Very old paintings” and they’re more than 20 years, even 25 years old. I spoke at length about these works in a blog dated May17, 2014. It’s worth a look at both these links…they’re interesting! Here’s a peek at some of the images.
This month, the artworks I’m looking at again, are from a series of “Goddess” paintings I made 20 years ago. Oil paints were the medium. Many of these paintings were from my first solo exhibition “Journey to the Forest within”.
It’s good to reflect on where we’ve come from, and motivations and inspirations from an earlier time. In the late ’80’s to mid ’90’s I spent time researching ancient goddesses from old Europe. These archaeological finds were mainly of small statues, quite simple in appearance yet conforming to a particular style, which over millennia changed very little. They seemed to represent aspects of the earth goddess which people of those times relied on for providing them with all their needs. We are talking about times from around 7000 till 2000 BC, the last remnants of the goddess civilisations being that of the Minoan civilisation.
I loved the simplicity yet power of these designs, and their decoration. Many of these finds were made in Eastern Europe, and were originally researched by Marija Gimbutas. This information was collated in her book “Goddesses and gods of Old Europe”.
I used the goddess image and decorative motifs in a group of paintings made over many years. These symbols used have remained with me till the present time, and are occasionally found in recent paintings. In the old paintings the most common ones were the curved moon, lines representing rain, decorative zigzags, dots, triangle representing fertility, spirals, birds and circles representing home or inclusion. I used them both with the original meaning and also for decorative purposes. So I’ll just put up a small sideshow for your enjoyment.