Lascaux cave dating


22-Jan-2019 19:26

A monochrome cave painting is a picture made with only one colour (usually black) - see, for instance, the monochrome images at Chauvet.

A polychrome cave painting consists of two or more colours, as exemplified by the glorious multi-coloured images of bison on the ceiling at Altamira, or the magnificent aurochs in the Chamber of the Bulls at Lascaux.

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Thus we see the monochrome paintings of Aurignacian culture (40-25,000 BCE) give way to the polychrome art of the Gravettian (25-20,000 BCE), leading to the apogee of cave painting which is traditionally acknowledged to occur during the Magdalenian era (c.15-10,000 BCE) at Lascaux, Altamira, Font de Gaume and Les Combarelles.The incredible effort it took to penetrate into the depths of the earth suggests that the caves were not the equivalent of contemporary art galleries, and that the paintings had a sacred or ritual significance.