Sunday, August 19, 2012


Prehistoric/Paleolithic period about 18,000 years plus.
The caveman did not inhabit the caves where the paintings were created.  These caves were mostly used for ceremonial purposes.  The paintings consist of images of large animals such as bison, and deer.  The images are rendered with detail and form because the men were consumed with the animals they portrayed.  The knew the animals from the inside out. They hunted them, killed them, skinned them and wore the animal skins.

Most of the paintings were animals paintings.  There were very few drawings of man included in the caves.  The birdman painting with the bird staff may represent a god-like figure because of the symbol of the staff.

The cave was discovered on September 12, 1940 by four teenagers, lead by Marcel Ravidat and his dog Robot. They were on a treasure hunt in which the dog  apparently fell into a hole that lead the boys to discover the cave drawings.  The boys returned with oil lamps to find their way.  They discovered herds of horses, oxen, deer and bison.   The teenagers found four rooms of paintings equaling over 1500 pictures of animals.

They decided to share their story with their science teacher who in turn contacted an expert.  The boys were the first modern people to lay eyes on this art.  The painting had been sealed for over 17,000 years.

The cave complex opened to the public in l948.  By l955 the carbon dioxide produced by 1,200 visitors per day caused damage to the paintings.  The caves were closed to the public in l963.  Today it is open to scientists and students by appointment.


Picasso Influences of Altamira Cave paintings

Pablo Picasso

Bicycle Bull Head-Picasso

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