Landscape with volcanic eruption

We’ve moved past paleolithic man and have moved into the Neolithic time period. What you see above is possibly the world’s first landscape! How exciting is that?

It is a “landscape with volcanic eruption” that was painted on a shrine wall in Çatal Hüyük, Turkey around 6150 BCE. In the foreground of the painting, you’ll see a series of rectangles representing the homes built in the city. In the background is a (smoking?) twin peaked mountain named Hasan Dağ.

Oh goodness, I had to crack out the character map to finish that paragraph. That was exhausting.

Scholars believe the volcano might have had some sort of religious connotation, since it was painted in a shrine. We know the Hawaiians have Pele, so I’m sure the locals had beliefs connected to the eruptions of their volcanoes.

But the real reason why this painting is special is because it’s the first example art historians have found where people or animals are not represented in the composition.

Since we’re in Çatal Hüyük, I’ll share another painting with you. This is an painting depicting an organized group of hunters in their hunting process. You’ll see there are two very large deer surrounded by a herd of people. I’m showing this to you because, as you can see, “twisted perspective is still being used more than 7,000 years after the creation of the Hall of Bulls. Of course, put a new spin on twisted perspective and you’ll find the basis for Cubism. (The basis being that an object is viewed and represented from various angles to get a fuller description of its essence, but that won’t happen until the 1900s CE.)

Here is “Deer Hunt” from Çatal Hüyük, Turkey. It was created around 5750 BCE.

See, twisted perspective (or “composite view”)! However, the Neolithic artists used a new technique to paint their pieces. They used brushes to apply pigment to a specially prepared white plaster background, rather than directly to a cave or interior wall.


3 thoughts on “Landscape with volcanic eruption

    • Yes. Looking back on it, it’s kind of interesting how little art’s changed since the “dawn of man.” Sure, we’ve evolved and our techniques have changed, but it’s always been about taking a descriptive “shot” of what the world is like.

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