… she was in the last cohort of tourists to see the actual Lascaux caves. Her family was on its way to England, where her father had a fellowship at London’s National Institute for Medical Research, and among the places they visited were the caves full of paleolithic drawings of animals (and a few people).

The press of people wanting to see the caves began destroying the paintings, so in 1963 the original caves were closed to the public, and a series of nearby replicas were created. The latest replica, just opened, is the biggest and the best.

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6 Responses to “One of UD’s little claims to fame is that…”

  1. Greg Says:

    I would have loved that experience and am happy for you.

    Against the very unlikely possibility that you haven’t seen Werner Herzog’s “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” about the Chauvet Cave, I strongly recommend it:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cave_of_Forgotten_Dreams

    I can’t remember whether I saw it on Amazon or Netflicks.

  2. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Greg: It’s on YouTube. I’m going to watch it tonight. Thanks for the tip.

  3. Greg Says:

    The audio goes on and off in at least one Youtube version. You might think, early on, that something is wrong with your settings. Don’t worry it will come back on. Perhaps some of the intermittent silence is intentional — I can’t believe all of it is — but the intermittent silence may actually enhance, if you are not annoyed and fiddling with settings.

    There are so many possible meditative streams that one might follow from the cave paintings. One is the history of representational art. Of course these representations exerted no influence on the wide range of art, Western and otherwise, that one would see in Jansen. But it is illustrative of human capabilities and urges to represent, perhaps to represent in a beautiful or magical way.

    One meditative stream involves western art and what one might call the big bang of realism around 1420, particularly in the Northern Renaissance.

    Let me recommend a wonderful beautiful book on this topic, that might give pleasure in a grim time, David Hockney’s “Secret Knowledge” is the book I have in mind. Even if you don’t buy his thesis that optics –both lenses and mirrors –played an important role in this leap, the book is worth it for the beautiful pictures juxtaposed, and discussed. Hockney assembled a wall of images from about 1150 to the 1800’s and notes the development of various features observed with his artists eye. He is never breathless or oppressive in pushing his thesis, which in his view involves not one bit of denigration of the artists involved. They had to be superb to use the optics as he thinks they did. Nevertheless his comments on the faces, drapery folds, glint off armor, are worth reading even separately from their support of his larger views.

    In any event there is a chance that the Hockney book would give you a great deal of pleasure.

  4. Mr Punch Says:

    I visited Lascaux in ’62. Unfortunately I had misplaced my regular glasses, and had to wear shades.

  5. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Mr Punch: Bummer. But shaded is better than not at all.

  6. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Greg: Ordering the Hockney book now. Thanks.

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