|Rhinos (Chauvet Cave painting)|
The documentary tells us a lot about the cave, about how it's being studied and preserved for future generations. But what I loved most is how well the paintings were shown. The light moving slowly across the timeless creation, while the thick darkness enveloped the rest. One can imagine the fire burning in that cave 32000 years ago, throwing its light on the walls. The dancing flames giving the drawings a life of their own and those ancient people looking at the animals drawn along the curves of the cave wall. They would have seen what we see - visually engaging works of art. What were their thoughts looking at the work?
|Horses (Chauvet Cave painting)|
What I found interesting was how the artists visualised movement - the bison with eight legs, or the rhino's horns drawn repeatedly in front and above its head. The two rhinos fighting seem locked with brutal force. Then there is the herd of horses, drawn obliquely, each horse unique in its rendition. It almost seems like the horses are galloping side by side. And one of the artists made a series hand prints with some kind of red pigment and another with the hand used as a stencil. The artists used various methods to accentuate the drawings - grooves, shading and repeated lines. Further reading told me that before the artists started drawing in earnest, they scraped the cave walls for a lighter coloured wall and a smooth texture. Such ingenuity! Another interesting thing is that the paintings were not done at the same time period. Some of the paintings were made some 5000 years after the first series. The mind boggles! What did those individuals find in that cave and what did those 'new age' artists think of the paintings on the wall? How did they add to what was already drawn? How old did they think those drawings were?
You can't help but feel a sense of awe looking at these works of art. It is a beautiful reminder that the need to express ourselves is part of who we are. We have always created and always will, no matter how our language changes.
'Cave of Forgotten Dreams' is an interesting watch - you can see the trailer of the documentary here. I bet you'll be inspired by the ancient lines drawn with an abandon we all aspire to. Enjoy!