Cave Paintings Essays

Cave Paintings Essays

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The Cave of Lascaux and Cave Art
     Cave paintings might possibly be the oldest known form of communication that exists today. Cave paintings date back to a period of time called the Paleolithic Age. The Paleolithic Age took place from 40,000 to 10,000 B.C. Prehistoric Age is divided into three parts: Paleolithic being the earliest, Mesolithic being the middle at 10,000 B.C. and Neolithic Age being the latest at 8,000 B.C. During the Paleolithic Age it is believed that the cave paintings at Lascaux, France were created.
     Lascaux, is located in the south central, western corner of France. In 1940 this cave was believed to be found by a group of four boys from Montignac, France and a dog while out walking through the woods. Allegedly the dog fell into the cave and would not answer the owners call. The boys came up to what appeared to be a dark rock but as they got closer they realized they was not the case, it was a cave. The boys entered in an attempt to find the dog and discovered one of the most important cave paintings now known to man. Lascaux quickly became a heavy tourist spot and was forced to be closed in 1963 due to the damage being caused by human beings.
     In Lascaux this elegant cave painting is comprised of almost six hundred figures of different animals. The cave art at Lascaux is comprised of horses, bison, cattle and hinds as suggested by the Columbia Encyclopedia in its article Paleolithic Art. It is suggested that the art “may have a ritual significance to hunting”. (Columbia) These animal paintings in the cave vary in size but the bulls specifically range from thirteen to sixteen feet long.
     It is believed that these particular cave works were created sometime around 13,000 B.C. and have remained, for the most part, completely intact. This date is only hypothetical being that the process of dating these cave paintings is slightly inaccurate and limited. As talked about on the Lascaux Cave Official Website “the range of methods and tools used to date the cave art is somewhat limited, partly because the figures are not in a position favorable to stratigraphic dating most of the time and also because of the nature of the material used”. (Lascaux 11/25/04) Another identical method uses the pigment, which was found on the ground, to ...


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...g these paintings. In researching this topic the student learned of the three prehistoric eras and what significance each had to later civilization. This student also learned of the possibility of a scaffolding and/or complex form that was designed to allow a person to paint on the upper wall or ceiling of a cave. This student also found it very interesting how the human body can break down these paintings and how it is hard for even scholars to gain entrance to these places.
I think that these cave paintings paved the way for future art with ideas of ritual, creativity, preservation and expression. I feel that the people of this time were extremely intelligent in the fact that they were able to grasp some idea of preservation so these paintings could be viewed for years to come. I also feel that these people showed intelligence in a supreme being. If indeed these paintings are created as a ritual for their hunt then maybe they believed that if they perform this ritual this supreme being will provide them with a prosperous hunt. This topic I found very interesting and informative. Studying this topic really brought light to the existence of art even in the prehistoric culture.




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