Cave Paintings

  • Most paintings tend to be of animals – likely due to their dependence on animals for food
  • Animals were believed to have been painted before a hunt – used as a form of magic to weaken their prey and therefore make them easier to hunt
  • Paintings are painted on the natural rock surface, which helps to add depth to the forms
  • Paintings were all found in caves that were set back from the main entrance – believed to be a separate area from the living quarters, perhaps used for some kind of spiritual activity
  • Paintings were painted overtop of one another – this suggests the original purpose of the paintings was more practical than artistic

Bison, Cave Painting, Altamira Caves c. 15,000-10,000 B.C

  • Altamira caves were found in 1879 – a hunter’s dog fell into a hole that proved to be the blocked entrance to an unknown cave – the cave paintings were on the ceiling – only discovered by a 5 year old girl – the only person who could stand upright (everyone else had to bend over)
  • Animals are painted in shades of red, brown, and black
  • Paintings primarily focus on bison
  • Bison were hunted for food, skin, bones and fur
  • There are at least 16 bison grouped in the centre of the ceiling – surrounded by 2 boars and a deer
  • Pictures are of the animals only – no landscape or horizontal base
  • Technical advancement at Altamira – the animals are painted on the natural protrusions from the rock face – gives them depth – also accurate proportions, used many different colours

Can We Help with Your Assignment?

Let us do your homework! Professional writers in all subject areas are available and will meet your assignment deadline. Free proofreading and copy-editing included.

Interior of the Lascaux Caves

  • The entrance to the cave was found by 4 teenaged boys – they stumbled upon the entrance when they found a hole leading to the cave under a tree that had been uprooted
  • Lascaux caves were discovered in 1940-41.
  • The caves in Lascaux are filled with paintings of bison, deer, horses, and cattle – all running across the walls
  • Some are simply outlined in black, others are filled in with bright earth colours – all show an uncanny sense of life
  • After WWII – the cave entrance was enlarged and the floors lowered to enable a constant flow of tourists (1200 people per day)
  • By 1955, the first indications of deterioration of the paintings appeared – due to the excess of carbon dioxide in the air brought about by the visitor’s breath
  • The Ministry of Cultural Affairs had the cave closed on April 20, 1963
  • Once the visits to the cave stopped, the causes of the changes eliminated, and the original climatic conditions recreated, the Lascaux cave art returned to its original state
  • A replica was opened in 1983 – called Lascaux II

Man with Bison and Rhinoceros
Lascaux Caves
Dordogne, France,
c. 15,000-10,000 B.C

  • This painting was found on the lower level at the back of the Chamber of Engravings
  • Representation portrays the confrontation between the man and the bison with a fleeing rhinoceros on the left
  • The animal’s aggressiveness is portrayed by the lowered head, as if it were ready to gore its adversary

Venus of Willendorf

  • Believed to have been a fertility idol carried by the men on their hunt (acted as a reminder of their mate back home)
  • Round, bulbous form indicates wealth (lots of food to eat)
  • Exaggerated sexuality – may be emphasizing child bearing
  • Highly detailed texture in the hair, yet no face – perhaps so that the owner could imagine her to be whoever they wanted
  • Venus of Willendorf, c. 24,000-22,000 BC, limestone, 11.1 cm, found in Austria (1908)

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
2 years ago

do you know who the author is ?

Reply to  kevin
1 year ago

St. Rosemary Institution

Reply to  Ally
11 months ago

that is just the name of a school there is no author

S. Sigery
S. Sigery
2 years ago

hey, thank you

Reply to  S. Sigery
1 year ago