Pre-historic Art: Michelangelo of the Cave

Pre-historic Art represents the dawn of human creative imagination and artistic expression: It is to Art what Genesis is to the Bible.

Evidence from some caves suggests that those who painted them used ledges, scaffolds and platforms to paint the ceilings, and the degree of complexity and quality of some pigments used suggest that Pre-historic painters had assistants!
At Lascaux for example, they found pestles and mortars in which colors were mixed, together with no less than 158 different mineral fragments from which the mixtures were made. It is believed that there might have been some sort of a “workshop” or “studio”:
People grinding the pigments, binding them, preparing brushes, setting platforms, filling the lamps with animal fat, to the end of the laborious job.

Can you imagine a cave man lying on his back on a ledge to paint a cave ceiling? Isn’t it what Michelangelo would do millennia later when he painted the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican?

The funny part is that the world’s most spectacular cave paintings were discovered by coincidence. Here are some stories:

“Dog…where are you!”
In 1940, four boys who went out for a walk followed their dog to the interior of a cave…
They had no idea that they had just “discovered” the most famous rock art site on Earth: “Lascaux Cave” in France.

“Look Papa! Oxen!”
In 1879, Maria, a young Spanish girl, was accompanying her father while he was excavating a cave in N. Spain…
Slightly bored, she started looking around when, suddenly, she noticed painted animals…
She had just discovered “Altamira Cave” in Spain.

“It was as if time had been abolished!”
In 1994, 3 scientists were exploring a cave when, feeling a breeze, they discovered a network of hidden chambers.
Before their eyes, there were bears, horses, cave lions, mammoths, and more! They discovered “Chauvet Cave” in France.

“Do you understand the sadness of geography?”
In 1932/1933, the Hungarian Laszlo de Almasy (the English Patient) –while supposedly searching for the lost oasis of Zarzora- discovered paintings of people swimming in a cave. He named it “Cave of the Swimmers” (in Egypt).

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