Of late we have been talking and examining some ancient landscapes and forms including Julie’s post yesterday on caves.
The Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc Cave in the Ardèche department of southeastern France is a cave that contains some of the best-preserved figurative cave paintings in the world, as well as other evidence of Upper Paleolithic life. It is located near the commune of Vallon-Pont-d'Arc on a limestone cliff above the former bed of the Ardèche River, in the Gorges de l'Ardèche. Discovered on December 18, 1994, it is considered one of the most significant prehistoric art sites and the UN’s cultural agency UNESCO granted it World Heritage status on June 22, 2014. The cave was first explored by a group of three speleologists: Eliette Brunel-Deschamps, Christian Hillaire, and Jean-Marie Chauvet for whom it was named six months after an aperture now known as "Le Trou de Baba" ("Baba's Hole") was discovered by Michel Rosa (Baba). At a later date the group returned to the cave. Another member of this group, Michel Chabaud, along with two others, travelled further into the cave and discovered the Gallery of the Lions, the End Chamber. Chauvet has his own detailed account of the discovery. In addition to the paintings and other human evidence, they also discovered fossilized remains, prints, and markings from a variety of animals, some of which are now extinct.1
The discovery of the Chauvet Cave completely shattered society’s ideas on the chronology of prehistoric art: 36,000 years ago, artists demonstrated a level of creativity and genius that once seemed impossible.2
We are all so familiar with cave paintings and the links these provide with our artistic beginnings. Please click on the bookmark link below to enjoy a fabulous short presentation by Google Arts & Culture into how the creations by prehistoric artists portray subjects and issues that speak across the millennia to other fellow artists. How has prehistoric society communicated their universal messages through the images and sculptures they have left us? 2