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Dawn of Art: The Chauvet Cave (The Oldest Known Paintings in the World)

An intriguing study of the early evolution of human artistic endeavors focuses on recent discoveries in the Chauvet cave, Stone Age paintings and engravings of animals that are more than thirty thousand years old. BOMC Div. Natural Science Main.The 1990s have witnessed a sort of renaissance in cave art, thanks to new discoveries from the south of France. Previously, the oldest examples of human art were thought to have been painted 15,000 years ago. When these three spelunkers-turned-authors happened upon the Chauvet cave (named after one of them), however, they visited an underground art gallery that had been closed for 30,000 years. It’s still inaccessible today, except to specialists. But this wonderful book of pictures and text allows virtual tourists to appreciate the creations of our remotest ancestors. This may be primitive art in the literal sense of the term, but it’s remarkably sophisticated.

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  1. Dianne Foster "Di" says

    Cave of the bears, lions, and other creatures… In December 1994, three speleologists were exploring in the Ardèche region of France when they discovered an underground system of caves that came to be known as the Chauvet Cave (named for one of the three). Because these individuals were highly aware of the potential for finding ice age cave art in this region and extremely responsible human beings, they behaved with the utmost propriety, taking care to preserve their find for scientific research. As a result, they have ensured the protection and continued existence of a treasure trove of paleolithic art. In DAWN OF ART: THE CHAUVET CAVE, Jean-Marie Chauvet, Eliette Brunel Deschamps and Christian Hillaire tell the story of the discovery that has rocked the art world.

  2. Anonymous says

    worth getting This book is filled with beautiful photographs of the oldest known cave art in the world. Simply flipping through and examining these paintings is an amazing experience. However, the text is a little less than breathtaking, providing little information for even those of us who know very little about cave art. It is little more than a description of how the discoverers felt upon finding this cave. Nonetheless, this book is worth purchasing, if only for the spectacular photos.

  3. Anonymous says

    Beautiful Photographs of the oldest cave art known. The Chauvet Cave in Southern France has caused art history to have to be re-written. This brilliantly painted cave- far older than Lascaux and others in the region is exhibited beautifully here in a lush “Coffee Table” book form. These are well reproduced photographs of superb art work. Some of the animals drawn by the ancient artists have multiple legs- suggesting motion. Also surprising is the attempt at a realistic perspective in some of the works. As excellent as the book is in its photographs it is short on explaining the many questions this art brings to mind such as – “What function did this art serve.” Perhaps this is for the best since the answers may always remain in the realm of speculation. This book is the only way to see this great art- as the cave will probably never be opened to general public visitation.

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