Art as Human Impulse

Tuesday, 5 November 2013 | buzz

We are often taught that the history of human civilization has been one of near-constant progress. Life keeps getting better, with better technology, more education, more leisure time. In contrast, life in ancient times was, in the words of Thomas Hobbes, “brutish, nasty and short.” But, on the other hand, consider art. The ancients — even cavemen going back 50,000 years into prehistory — found time to make paintings, carvings, sculptures and music. If life then was so rough, why would human beings invest so much time, energy and effort in an activity that has so little relation to their ultimate survival? Thomas Dale has served on the UW Madison faculty since 1999, and is currently the chair of the Art History Department. He joined Buzz host Brian Standing on Monday, November 4, 2013 to help us answer these questions.

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