3. The Lion Race

What you can see from this point of view is a huge wall. The colored borders

set off the closeup images as part of the walk  through. We will not talk

about all of them. If you would like to see the original cave paintings, go to

http://www.culture.gouv.fr/culture/arcnat/chauvet/en/

You can see here that there is a huge lion race painted on this wall. We

will go closer to the wall where I will talk about the concept that creates

the feeling of movement.

 

As we move closer to the right hand wall things are still a bit fuzzy and we can see more detail.

 

There is a lot to see here and to wonder about.

 

Can you remember anyone that ever told you lions lived in France at about 31,000 B.C.E?

 

The climate changes in the world have, at times, been massive. In seeing the lions, we need to adjust our idea of what the climate must have been like to support lthese beasts that we now see only in the warm climate of Africa. I suspect that when these were painted the world outside of was hot and coming into a cave to cool off would be appropriate. I am open to suggestions . We do know that the great ice shields melted and froze again.

Might this changing climat brought the lions north flowing the animals that fled the expanding desert to richer pastures and water?

 


 

 

As we get closer to the panel we can see the lions easily.

How did these people who, lived here, way before we were born, learn how to draw such wonderful heads of lions?

One of the artistic bits of knowledge is that one can draw one animal over the other a number of times. If you turn the head, or raise or lower it just a bit you create the feeling of motion. On the center right of the picture below you can see three superimposed lion heads.

 

The painters of the cave know their animals very well. It was one of their survival skills and shows up on this cave wall. Although we do not really know why these beautiful drawings were done, we know that the painters had no problem drawing over some one else’s work. Look closely and find the lion with the curved head near the upper left hand corner of the image.

The lions are gorgeous and the energy fantastic. To see them in person would, I think, be breathtaking.