Do you think the images of our ancestors still reverberate today with meaning and insight?

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Your first step in answering this is to examine the underlying assumption of the question. An image does not just "reverberate" on its own in the absence of an audience. A response to a work of art is always the response of an individual interacting with that work. Since there are some 7 billion people alive on earth now, one cannot possibly know how each of those billions of people might interact with every single work of art created before they were born. 

If one looks at statistics of how many people visit museums or monuments to view the "old masters" it is obvious that some people find these works of interest. People stand in line for hours to view the Mona Lisa in the Louvre and tourists flock to sites such as the Athenian Acropolis, Knossos, or Pompeii. Although some people may find contemporary art more accessible or interesting, many others find older works more inspirational. 

Personally, I would suggest that viewing only the work of one's contemporaries is just as narrow-minded as never leaving a single small town and never meeting someone from a different ethnicity, social class, or religious background. Images from a distant period in time are inspiring precisely because they force us to think and respond outside the circumscribed temporal nature of our own lives.