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The Minoan culture existed in Crete and consisted of four periods: Prepalatial, Protopalatial, Neopalatial, and the Postpalatial period between 3650 BC and 1100 BC.Not much of the art remained from the Prepalatial times, and most of artefacts still existing today are Cycladic statuettes and pottery fragments.The figures are generally rather sketchily depicted in thin paint, with the relationships between the groups of humans and animals more carefully depicted than individual figures.Other less numerous groups of rock art, many engraved rather than painted, show similar characteristics.Other cave painting sites include Lascaux, Cave of Altamira, Grotte de Cussac, Pech Merle, Cave of Niaux, Chauvet Cave, Font-de-Gaume, Creswell Crags, Nottinghamshire, England, (Cave etchings and bas-reliefs discovered in 2003), Coliboaia cave from Romania (considered the oldest cave painting in central Europe) Rock painting was also performed on cliff faces, but fewer of those have survived because of erosion.One well-known example is the rock paintings of Astuvansalmi in the Saimaa area of Finland.

Recent reappraisals and numerous additional discoveries have since demonstrated their authenticity, while at the same time stimulating interest in the artistry of Upper Palaeolithic peoples.

Before the 1800s, the Christian church was a major influence upon European art, the commissions of the Church, architectural, painterly and sculptural, providing the major source of work for artists.

The history of the Church was very much reflected in the history of art, during this period.

The art of Europe encompasses the history of visual art in Europe.

European prehistoric art started as mobile rock, and cave painting art, and was characteristic of the period between the Paleolithic and the Iron Age.