Sunday, April 03, 2011
The Supplement: Chauvet Cave Paintings
After seeing the great Werner Herzog's latest film, 'Cave of Forgotten Dreams (3D)' on Friday night, it seems like a good time to to supplement the blog with images from the Chauvet Caves in France.
The Caves were painted over 30,000 ago, and discovered only very recently. They contain some of the finest (and oldest) examples of prehistoric painting in the world. The crass Hollywood image of prehistoric humanity as primitive, barbaric and unsophisticated is belied by the evidence of the culture they created. These are, as Herzog says, truly great works of art.
There's a good website for the cave here, click on the 'Visit the cave' link for a map and images.
For more information (and a trailer) on the film, see http://www.wernerherzog.com/index.php?id=64.
This last painting is a 'Venus' - a supposed fertility image - and shows the lower half of the female body, with a bison's head above - the pubic area is enlarged, while the legs taper narrowly. It also looks as if the leg on the right doubles as the bison's left leg. In the film, Herzog relates this to later depictions of the minotaur (with particular reference to Picasso).