Archived post

This is an archived post. Please click here to see the latest entries.

« Dordogne Journal: La Douce France | Home | The 2002 Strategic Plan: How’d They Do? »


Dordogne Journal: Cave Paintings

After viewing the 17,000 year-old cave paintings in the Dordogne’s Grotte de Lascaux, Pablo Picasso is reported to have said, “We have invented nothing.”; “We have learned nothing in twelve thousand years.”

There are over two hundred caves with prehistoric paintings in France, mostly in the Dordogne Valley, and over one hundred in Spain. They date anywhere from 15,000 to 32,000 years ago. Unknown artists painted individual animals and groups of them: lions, bisons, reindeer, mammoths, bears, hyenas, aurochs, and creatures that seem to have been imagined. Occasionally the images seek to show the animals in motion. In addition to having a command of perspective, the artists also used the natural contours of cave walls to give depth and volume to their depictions.

Some of the paintings lie over a mile into deep limestone caves, as if the artists were seeking quiet, or fleeing the regard of others. Why did they paint? For religious reasons? To bring luck to the hunt? Or simply because they shared with us a human appreciation for beauty and a desire to create art?

Gaume1.jpg

Font-de-Gaume_entree.JPGThe bison above was painted on the wall of the Font-de-Gaume cave (right), located outside Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil. Dated to 17,000 BC, Font-de-Gaume is one of the only polychrome painting sites that the public may still visit. The most famous paintings created with multiple materials are at Lascaux, but that cave is now closed to the public.

To stand at arm’s length from the work of an artist who painted by torchlight almost twenty millennia ago is a moving, humbling experience. Say what you want about the Cro-Magnons, but they weren’t just a bunch of neanderthals.

Featured posts

  • October 18, 2009
    When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
    We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
  • October 9, 2009
    D Afraid of a Little Competish
    So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
  • September 4, 2009
    How Regents Should Reign
    As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
  • August 29, 2009
    Election Reform Study Committee
    If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…
  • August 23, 2009
    Fare Thee Well, Tom Crady
    And now Dean Tom Crady has precipitously announced his departure from the College after only 20 months on the job. How to read this? By way of background, prior to coming to Dartmouth, Crady had…
  • May 31, 2009
    Kangaroo Court, Indeed
    In an interview with The Dartmouth, alumni-elected trustee T.J. Rodgers ‘70 explained his reasons for declining to participate in future evaluations of trustees up for “re-election,” namely the “kangaroo court” nature of such discussion in…

Dartblog Specials

Subscribe by Email

Enter your email address:

Help, Pecuniarily

Please note

This website reflects the personal opinions of its authors. Any e-mails received may be published along with the full name of the sender. If you wish otherwise, please say so.

All content appearing at Dartblog.com should be presumed copyright 2004-2014 its respective bylined author unless otherwise noted or unless linked to original source.

Advertisement

admin

Calendar

June 2012
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Search

Archives

Links