“Lion Panel” which is in Chauvet cave (Ardeche valley, in France) dates back to 30,000 BCE (Getlein 5). The drawing could be painted onto the wall of the cave with the help of the reed brush. As for the paint, it could be a mixture of “a natural substance, along with black charcoal” and animal fat (Getlein 5).
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Apparently, the artwork is not a sketch for another painting, but it is complete as a drawing. Though, it is possible that the artist could have some more images in mind. The drawing reveals hunting lions. However, the lions are painted scarcely. Sometimes only shapes of their bodies can be traced. It is rather unclear whether the drawing is a coherent scene, or whether it is only a part of another scene. As for the colors, it is necessary to note that black color prevails, though it is possible to trace some red tinges as well.
As far as the artist’s intention is concerned, it is rather hard to tell. In fact, the drawing could tell two different stories. In the first place, the drawing could serve some decorative purposes. Thus, the artist could want to reveal the world. The artist could wish to perpetuate the beauty of the world.
It is also possible that the artist wanted to recreate the world in the “dwelling” of his tribe. The drawing could also be an adoration of the dwelling, which revealed prosperity (or heritage) of the tribe. Finally, the drawings could serve educational purposes. Thus, older members of the family could draw animals so that younger generations could learn more about the world outside the cave.
However, there is another possibility. Many scientists assume that cave paintings were made for certain sacred purposes. Researchers assume that the caves were uninhabited so there could be no decorative purposes. Thus, there could be one explanation for drawings: they were used during some rituals.
Presumably, shamans painted animals and different scenes from people’s life to carry out specific rituals. For instance, they could carry out rituals before hunting to secure hunter’s success. Shamans could also carry out rituals to influence weather conditions. At any rate, drawings served to create the necessary atmosphere during the rituals.
In any case, the drawing tells a story of people who lived thousands of years ago. The drawing provides insights into the peculiarities of life of people who lived in the Stone Age. Thus, now we can see that people have always tried to depict the world. This could be regarded as an attempt to understand the nature better.
Perhaps, people thought they could reveal the secrets of nature, if they could depict some images. Perhaps, people thought they could have some power over objects they cold depict. At any rate, painting played a very important role in the life of people who lived in the Stone Age.
In fact, knowing the importance of art at that period of time, it is possible to assume that people’s desire to reveal the world around them is archetypal. The necessity to reveal some pictures can be regarded as a certain tool to make people’s existence better and, maybe, easier. Therefore, it is really important to continue studying cave painting. This knowledge will not only cast light upon certain historic period, but it will help to understand peculiarities of the human’s soul.
Getlein, Mark. Living with Art, New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2009. Print.