The Horses of Chauvet

Horses of Chauvet

This is one of the masterpieces of the cave paintings in the cave of Chauvet in France. The paintings were drawn 32000 ago and are the oldest cave paintings known. Humans visited this site for thousands of years but nobody ever lived in this cave. So most likely it was used for religious or ritual purposes.

The picture above gives only hints how dramatic and amazingly beautiful this painting is.  The movie „The Cave of Lost Dreams“ by Werner Herzog shows it better.

The Painters used the the three dimensional structure of the cave wall and fitted the paintings of the animals in and placed it chamber where no daylight could reach it. It was meant to be watched in torchlight! In the flickering torchlight it would have looked as if the animals are moving.

It must have felt amazing standing there and watch the animals moving over the wall in the torchlight 32000 yeas ago.

In the opinion of Jean Clottes, one of the leadinG Expertin paleolithic art, this was used for shamanic rituals, to connect with the spirit of the animals. And I can clearly see the emotional impact this must have had.

Such a powerful emotional impact is what art is about or at least what we should strive to achieve.

Can photographers achieve this? And can we produce such powerful art for modern humans?