Hi back again, I decided to share some info about the prehistoric paintings located in the Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave located in southern France.
These caves contain the earliest known cave paintings discovered so far. The paintings date to the Aurignacian era (30,000-32,000 years ago) and were discovered in 1994. Hundreds of animals have been depicted including horses, reindeer, cave lions, bears, owls, panthers, bison, and rhinos.
The Chauvet Cave walls are the canvas for the world’s oldest known art work! It’s pretty amazing when you think about it. The drawings are predominantly done in charcoal blended and shaded by hand just like today. There is a sense of composition and pictorial depth in the way the animals are intentionally overlapped and interspersed. The sophistication of these drawings is obvious when you consider their age.
The caves are not open to the public, in fact they have been sealed off with a solid door and are under 24 hour surveillance, only authorized persons who follow a set protocol are permitted to enter the caves for research purposes. Director Werner Herzog was granted privileged access to the caves and filmed and released Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2011) a 3D documentary about the Chauvet Cave art and it’s inhabitants. I doubt if access will be granted for a Roy and the Rhino research project, so this movie might be as close as I get.
I wonder how these people found the time to create works of art when living in an environment filled with all the physical challenges and threats they encountered daily. I can picture them gathered around a fire at night using these images to tell stories of a woolly rhinoceros or two crashing through the forest, and of a hunter from the group that’s not paying attention, almost being stampeded . Sounds like a good idea for a children’s book.