The Caves Of Lascaux – Part I

Amazing Europe | | August 19, 2009 at 9:35 pm



caves lascauxThe complex painted caves of Lascaux located in the Dordogne region, Southern France, are amongst the highly eminent monuments that depict Ice Age art form. The awe-inspiring paintings dating back close to 17,000 years are also ascribed as ‘the antediluvian Sistine Chapel’.

Initially uncovered on September 12, 1940 by French quartet teens, following which the hearsay of the unearthing spread like wild fire that drew hoards of eager crowds including the nearby village dwellers and eventually archaeologists too visited the site.

Shortly subsequent to the culmination of the Second World War, the access way to the cave was broadened and the base was lowered to facilitate easy entry to viewers. With close to 1200 visitors paying a trip to the cave daily, by 1955, the cave’s fame began to have a major negative bearing on its interiors, with greenish algal formations and damage starting to emerge.

In a desperate attempt to conserve this primordial site from further ravages, in 1963 a decision was reached to halt public viewing. The initial climatic situation had been re-build and maintained with the assistance of a fully-automated system that tracks the interior climatic conditions and the site being restored back to its initial magnificence.

To recompense for the huge loss to eager viewers due to the shutdown, an elaborate mock-up of the original caves was made in 1980 called as ‘Lascaux II’ by depicting representations of the original against the duplicate wall that opened for public viewing in 1983.

altamira caveWithin the original cave, the initial twenty metres slants precipitously down leading to the foremost hall in the group known as the Great Hall of the Bulls with its vast-spanning murals comprising of animals like horses, stags and bulls. The fresco initiates with a unicorn resembling form seemingly pursuing a pack of horses that continues to a mural towards the backside of the hall that depicts a big incompletely drawn bull. The opposite side has the images of three big feral oxen creating a sense of balance to this work of art. The congregation point of the dual alignment is a set of little ochre coloured stags. Some of the depictions are restricted to remote or clustered dots in mostly black tone and varying to widely coloured dashes. The pre-dominant black colour is noticed solely in the cluster of stags, three bovines and four horses, three of which are unfinished are in red.

The 30 meters long Painted Gallery that follows, depicts the zenith of paleolithic cave art form that envelops the complete higher spans of the walls even to the ceiling. One can find art form based on the conventional ancient animal premise inclusive of bison, stag, ibexes among others. The sight of the arpeggio of Chinese horses encircled by huge red cows and on the backside a horse rushing to the inner reaches of the gallery.

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