Most folks in the so-called civilized world have probably become aware of Lascaux and Chauvet, caves in France, home to some amazing Paleolithic art. Chauvet is considered the oldest, with drawings dating back about 32,000 years. It is the oldest art known to man. They've always intrigued me and I've spent a fair amount of time looking at them and reading about them, mostly out of a desire to understand that impulse that drives people to create, to paint, specifically.
I've become very familiar with the petroglyphs and pictographs of the American southwest, having come across them numerous times on hikes in canyons and on drives along the Colorado River outside Moab, Utah. The cave paintings in France were a natural extension for me. The average person will never lay eyes on them, which is probably for the best, but there are some fine websites dedicated to educating people about them. The one I ran across today was intriguing in that it mentioned the documentary film by Werner Herzog, "Cave of Forgotten Dreams," which centers on Chauvet. I have not yet had an opportunity to see it, but I hope to remedy that soon. Here's a link to the Bradshaw Foundation site which has showcased them: http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/chauvet
What brought them to mind today was some photographs my friend and southwest hiking pal, JB, recently emailed to me. When I saw them, I immediately assumed they were from Chauvet. I drooled over them for a minute and then he sent a follow-up email telling me he had only the day before discovered them in a cave just outside Moab, Utah. Apparently, someone went in there to create copies of these paintings, even going so far as to use earth pigments for paint. This is a cave with many rooms that JB had explored before, so he feels they were done sometime in the past two years, since his last visit to the cave. They're remarkable replicas.
Ancient art and all that history, so very long ago, created by people like you and me, feeling the need to express themselves, to tell their stories and share their lives, to record the beauty they saw in the everyday. It's a world we create anew every time we tell our stories and share our lives, record the beauty we, too, see in the everyday. It's the ongoing story of Us.
Someday, we'll be the ancient ones.
These four photographs were taken by JB, in the cave outside Moab, Utah. He has not yet found any information about the artist who re-created these.
This is so ?ReplyDelete
at a loss for words I will say trippy. This is so trippy! How fascinating to find similar art in Utah regardless of whether it is a copy, or not.
And as for being the ancient ones, she said with a big smile on her face, how very trippy!
Hi Linda, Trippy, indeed. Believe me, when I get back out there, I will be checking them out. We're hoping no one will go in and deface them.ReplyDelete
I couldn't help but notice your post from the bloglist on the sidebar of Friko's World. A quick look reveals that you touch on a lot of things that interest me, even if we might have somewhat different perspectives (for example, for me the value of Berryman's poetry goes far beyond anything confessional - it is the lyricism and beauty of the language). Anyway, ancient art is also one of my passions. I love to think about what we may have in common with those artists of so long ago.Thanks for the link to the Chauvet site - I'll be checking it out.ReplyDelete
I saw "Cave of Forgotten Dreams" and these were an exact ripoff from the video of the caves in France. Although I thought the documentary went on a bit too long, it was amazing to see these pictures from so long ago.ReplyDelete
Mark, A big part of the fun of blogging is finding like-minded people, or people who have similar interests.ReplyDelete
re: Berryman. There's no doubt Berryman's poetry is lyrical and the language beautiful, but they are also the words of a very troubled person, and I no longer find it as satisfying as I once did. I do thank you for your perspective. I value others perceptions very much. It's always good to take another look. Poetry can change for us, as we change. I have several writers whose work I've come to see in a different light as my life moves on through new experiences. Perhaps I'll see Mr. Berryman in yet a different light further down the road.
I'm glad you stopped by. Thank you.
DJan, Yes, they are remarkably close as I compared them with images online today. The artist who painted them obviously did so in homage to those far earlier paintings. What an undertaking, not to mention talent. I hope to someday find out more about this modern day artist who replicated them.ReplyDelete
Werner can go on... :)
I've admired those ancient paintings in France before; a potter friend of mine is totally intrigued by them and makes pottery inspired by those cave paintings. It is wonderful to think of ancient man feeling compelled to make art so long ago. Recently I came across an article about a man who found a carved mammoth bone here in Florida which originally was thought to be a fake, but now scientists are saying differently. It's believed to be the oldest piece of art found in the Americas. Here's the link:ReplyDelete
Linda S, Thanks for the interesting link. Under his sink. Amazing. JB, who took these photos, is also a potter. He does replicas of Anasazi pots that are wonderful. Creating some inspired by the cave paintings sounds like a great idea.ReplyDelete
Great story. Are these well know amongst the locals in Moab?ReplyDelete
One Fly, They probably are in the hiking crowd, but JB is almost more reclusive than I, so the only person he knows that is aware of them is his friend, Michael, with whom he discovered them.ReplyDelete
Sound like a little road trip coming on, perhaps? :)
What a most intriguing story. And a very strange one at that. Perhaps, as you say, these very new 'old' cave paintings in Utah will become the subject of preservation orders just as those of the caves in France.
We had an uncle, now dead, who did actually see the original paintings in the Lascaux Caves before they were permanently closed to public view. There are now, or so we understand, replicas which the public may visit.
It makes me wonder about how others will view these when they find them? Is there any date listed with them that shows that they were recently done so that someone doesn't think that they have found something very old? I suppose that modern-day science could prove that though. Very interesting to see these. I studied some of this kind of art when I was getting my degree in art.ReplyDelete
Hej Teresa, thank you for the good link. I've always wanted to see those caves in France, but came no longer than Paris. The replicas in Utah are fascinating and worth to see.ReplyDelete
I must say I'm not looking forward to be one of the ancient ones! It's far ahead in the future, isn't it Teresa? LOL!
I sometimes wonder if there is enough space for us all on the internet in the future. Maybe we will all vanish like bubbles in the air?
The splendid common denominator between all the images you reproduce is that wonderful sense of life and movement. Fascinating images.ReplyDelete
I have a couple friends who are cavers but not me. Some of the stories heard is plenty for me. I would like to see these though.ReplyDelete
Jane and Lance, Yes, the replicas are very near the real deal from what I understand. I can certainly see why they are closed to the public. Even the breathing of thousands of people would not be good for them. The carbon dioxide creates fungi.ReplyDelete
Your lucky uncle.
TERI, They are completely unlike the other pictographs found the southwest. I'm certain they could be dated. Your degree in art certainly must have brought an abundance of beauty into your life.ReplyDelete
GRETHE, As the ancient ones I wonder how we will be viewed?
Maybe the internet itself will be an ancient idea and computers ancient contraptions.
ALAN, Thank you so much. I appreciate the comment. These images are beyond intriguing for me.ReplyDelete
ONE FLY, This cave is not extensive by any means and not unlike other caves you've probably encountered. No spelunking involved. If you plan a trip up to Moab let me know. JB can give directions or show you where they are. They are very accessible.
I remember very well the art class in which I learned about the original. I was fixated and fascinated by them! These drawings say so much about us as humans and our need to share, to communicate and to connect with each other.ReplyDelete
To come upon even well known and often viewed cave paintings - such as at the New Mexico parks we visited earlier this year - is so cool, even to an art ignoramus like me. Makes history seem more immediate.ReplyDelete
BB, It is an interesting look at our deep desire to connect with one another.ReplyDelete
Linda M, It brings a new perspective that's for certain.
Fascinating story and paintings! I have seen many petroglyphs and pictographs in Arizona and there are some pictographs on a reservation about 30 miles from here that I visit about once a year. Looking at them and thinking about those who created them, who they were and what their lives were like gives me a very strong tie to our planet and those who were wise enough to preserve it for us. I wonder if we have lost that wisdom.ReplyDelete
The Impulse For Art Is Fascinating.We See The Finished Results But Can Only Guess The Need Behind Them......Be It Cave Paintings or Blog Posts, It seems A Common Human Impulse.To Reach Out & Explain Our World To Others.......ReplyDelete
Interesting find, I always wonder more about the creators of work like this.I have an area close where there is a small thunderbird carved in a stoneface.Probably Woodland natives.ReplyDelete
MONTUCKY, Let's just say, we've been guided by different things than our ancestors. Greed has driven decision-making and the planet is suffering those consequences. I hope we can learn to love her and nurture her soon.ReplyDelete
TONY, I like what you've said here. It does seem to be an innate need, an impulse coming from who we are.
STEVE, What a nice discovery. It is interesting to think of what inspires people and who listens to it....
Art reflects our soul,ReplyDelete
Images on a dark wall
Come alive in light.
Paul, Very nice. All things come alive in the light. Thank you.ReplyDelete
I enjoy the pictographs of the southwest and if I had stumbled on them while trekking about in the southwest, I probably would have stroked out before I came to my senses. Really excellent work! Thanks, Teresa.ReplyDelete
Hi Jack, So good to hear from you. Perhaps there are many more treks to the SW yet to come for you and they just might include such things. I hope so.ReplyDelete
I don't know if you have ever looked at my profile at my blog. If so, you will have seen Cave Art listed as my second interest next to music.ReplyDelete
Cletis, I looked at it when we first "met," but had not again until recently, shortly after I posted this, I believe. I wasn't surprised... :)ReplyDelete