Lascaux is the setting of a complex of caves located in the Dordogne region of south-western France. It is well known for its Paleolithic cave paintings. These cave paintings are estimated to be approximately 17,000 years old. Most of the paintings are realistic images of large animals. The caves were discovered in 1940 for the first time by Marcel Ravidat and the cave complex was opened to the public in 1948.
Quick Facts: –
- Most of the major images in Lascaux have been painted onto the walls using red, yellow, and black colors from mineral pigments.
- In 1979, the UNESCO World Heritage Convention declared the Lascaux Cave a World Heritage Site.
- This cave complex is also known as ‘the prehistoric Sistine Chapel.’
- Lascaux II is located 200 meters away from the original cave complex. It is a replica of the Great Hall of the Bulls and the Painted Gallery.
- This replica was opened in 1983, so that visitors may view the painted scenes without harming the originals.
- Approximately 600 drawings and 1500 engravings can be found in this cave featuring patterns, and human and animal depictions.
- The caves where the paintings are found are very dark. Deep inside them the darkness is absolute.
- The cave has significance for art, history, and anthropology as well.
- Jean Clottes, a French art historian and archaeologist, is known as the grand old man of cave art.