Early Classic Bradshaw Period
(Realistic and Abstract).
The early Classic Realistic period was confined to a small part of the Kimberley coast with the Classic
Realistic figures making up a very small proportion of the overall figures and hugging the coast line River
systems. The Classic Abstract figures were found
further upstream of the major river systems.
A distinctive archaeological feature of the Classic
Realistic images is that they are almost never found
painted on top of the other images, with the artists
seeming to prefer a ‘çlean’ canvas.
Archaeological evidence shows that the earliest painters of the Classic period appeared to be able to paint a more naturalistic positioning of the figures with anatomical
details showing gender differentiation through posture and certain anatomical features such as leg musculature and posterior size.
The early Classic Bradshaw artist’s ability to paint
figures facing into the ‘canvas’ as well as the ability to
differentiate ‘gender’ through imagery and posture
suggests the artists of the Classic Realistic period were trained and knowledgeable artists. While the artists
painting the Classic Abstract figures were also able to paint figures facing into the canvas and at times produce even more subtle gender differences the attention to
anatomical detail is no longer apparent.
A distinguishing feature of the Classic figures is the
position of small animals resting directly on either the ‘hair’ or ‘headdress’. Another distinguishing feature of the Classic period is the perceived distinction by the artist in the depiction of ‘hair’ and attached ‘headdresses’ that dominate later Bradshaw stylistic variations.