Neolithic & Celtic Art

  • © ATOUT FRANCE/Michel Angot

Neolithic & Celtic Art

4,000 BC – 0 AD

In the Neolithic period and the Bronze Age (4,000 to 750 BC) Prehistoric man settled in one place to raise animals and grow cereals.

He stylized portrayals of animals and people. This art called "schematic", carefully executed in the caves of France and Spain, can be seen particularly in the standing stone statues as at Filitosa in Corsica and Alpine rock carvings in the Vallée des Merveilles, Alpes-Maritimes. The methods and forms evolved with decorated pottery and metalwork. The first stone slab structures of the Megalith in Brittany and the Carnac alignments appeared in Brittany. Later, huts constructed of dry stone with a roof became known as "capitelles", "cadoles" or "trulli".

The Iron Age (750 BC to our own era) would provide a wealth of precious objects like the gold disk of Auvers in Ile-de-France. This development continued with Celtic art: coins, figurative art and architecture.

The Gauls built monumental town walls, inspired by Mediterranean buildings, real ramparts 4 to 5 m thick, to protect themselves against invaders. The Roman Emperor Julius Caesar described them in his "Commentary on the Gallic War" (De Bello Gallico), in the first century of Roman occupation. Gallo-Roman art then became established in France.