The Cave Paintings of Lascaux

This is a closed, past exhibit; it is not available for viewing.

On September 12, 1940 in Dordogne, France, in the commune of Montignac, four boys—Marcel Ravidat, Jacques Marsal, Simon Coencas and Georges Agniel, and their dog stumbled upon a long forgotten cave—a jewel of prehistoric art and a major archaeological revelation. The cave was named Lascaux.

The Lascaux cave, now a World Heritage site, has been dubbed the “Sistine Chapel of Prehistory.” Also known as the Lascaux bestiary, its frescos represent many animals, including horses, bulls, deer, ibex, cats, a rhinoceros, and even the legendary unicorn. These pictures are accompanied by enigmatic signs and some human representations, such as a man facing a charging bison, raising new questions about the perception of our prehistoric ancestors.

After its discovery, the artwork of the cave amazed the world, and brought more than a million visitors to Lascaux between 1948 and 1963. Closed to the public since the 1960s to protect and preserve the cave, Lascaux remains the world icon of art from the dawn of man. For 10 years, from 1972 to 1983, French artist Monique Peytral documented and reproduced the paintings of the Hall of the Bulls and Axial Gallery. The result, Lascaux 2, is a life-size replica that can be visited at Montignac.

To make Lascaux accessible to an international public, the cave has been recreated in a new and unique set of 5 exact replicas of the paintings in the Nave and the Well Scene. Contemplate the paintings, their splendor and power, in an atmosphere of silence and lamplight, in which one can ponder the origins of humanity. Watch the animals move in the flickering light of the oil lamps and the torches of the Lascaux artists.

This international exhibition brings together state-of-the-art digital technologies in order to make the visit interactive and unforgettable—simulators of human presence, virtual trips using the most advanced 3D projections, interactive terminals as well as multimedia and a model of the cave. You will be able to travel throughout the whole cave in a virtual tour before admiring the life-size recreations of the Nave and the Well. You will then come face to face in a unique and unforgettable meeting with a Cro-Magnon family and observe the artists of Lascaux preparing their tools and then painting and engraving the walls of the cave.

Scenes from the Stone Age: The Cave Paintings of Lascaux was created by The General Council of Dordogne, with support provided by the Regional Council of Aquitaine, the French Ministry of Culture and Communication, and the European Union. The worldwide tour is organized by the SPL Lascaux, international exhibition. Official sponsors are Delpeyrat and Maïsadour.

Curator: Dirk Van Tuerenhout, Ph.D.

Dr. Dirk Van Tuerenhout is spokesperson for the people’s whose former belongings are on display at the museum. “The real stars behind the objects museums display are the people who made them,” believes Dr. Dirk Van Tuerenhout, who is passionate for modern humans to understand how those who came before….


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