Sunday, 7 June 2009


“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” - Scott Adams

For Art Sunday today a lively cave painting several thousands of years old from Lascaux in France. These palaeolithic caves house paintings that are at least 16,000 years old. The Lascaux cave paintings were discovered on Thursday, September 12, 1940, by four French teenagers. The news of the discovery quickly spread and many villagers came to see it themselves. Soon archaeologists visited the site as well.

Shortly after World War II ended, the entrance to the cave was enlarged and the floor was lowered to enable easier access for visitors. Nearly 1,200 tourists visited the cave every day.

By 1955, it became apparent that the cave's popularity had begun to cause significant damage. A study showed that the primary cause was the high levels of carbon dioxide from the visitors' breath.

A system was implemented to monitor carbon dioxide levels, but soon patches of green algae on the walls and other damage began to appear. To protect the ancient site from further damage, the Ministry of Cultural Affairs closed the Lascaux cave to the public on April 20, 1963. The original climatic conditions were recreated, and the site is now in the state in which it was discovered in 1940.

A computerised system now monitors a variety of conditions in the cave, including temperature, moisture and carbon dioxide levels. To compensate for the great loss to the public in closing the cave, a detailed replica was created in 1980. The cave paintings were recreated by projecting images of the originals onto the replica wall. The recreated site, known as "Lascaux II," has been open to the public since 1983.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting. I enjoyed reading your earlier posts as well.