Giulio Goria

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The Cosmic Rhythm. Emilio Villa about Prehistoric Art

  • Abstract

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Keywords: Emilio Villa, Prehistoric Art, Lascaux, Sacrificial Gesture, Bataille

My aim, in this paper, is to discuss the writings of Emilio Villa (1914-2003) about the primordial and paleolithic art. Particularly, I will examine the relationship between artistic gesture and sacrifice, or sacrificial gesture, that Villa places at the centre of its reading, regarding it as a sort of birth certificate of humanity. Firstly, I will examine the definition of art critic provided in Attributi dell’arte odierna. The art critic is, according to Villa, an artistic discipline at all, having the task of recreating the gesture of art. Then, I will try to explain the definition of art presented in the book L’arte dell’uomo primordiale, comparing it to the reading of Lascaux’s art presented by G. Bataille. The art and the artistic gesture, for Villa, is a sort of wound, a material and symbolic cut. In fact, using the material of prehistoric art, Villa identifies an epochal break that clearly shows the origin of humanity. Man is generated in caves, because the wound used in a sacrificial rite in the depths of those places is not only a representation/imitation of the hunt, but also a real crisis, a critical threshold of the human consciousness

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