Dawn of Art: the Chauvet Cave
Discover 18. 12 (Dec, 1997): 72 (2 pages)

Dawn of Art: the Chauvet Cave. Jean-Marie Chauvet, Eliette Brunel Descamps, and Christian Hillaire; with an epilogue by Jean Clottes; translated by Paul G. Bahn. Harry N. Abrams, 1996, $39.95.

In January 1995 the world first got a glimpse of an artistic masterpiece that had been hidden in darkness for 30,000 years. A few weeks earlier, three explorers had stumbled into a cave in southern France
decorated with dozens of paintings of horses, bison, lions, and other
Pleistocene creatures. These spectacular images are scientifically revolutionary because they drop-kick the origin of art back many thousands of years before the earliest dates scientists had previously offered. This coffee-table book comes with a workmanlike narrative of the discovery of the Chauvet cave (named for one of the discoverers), as well as a long, fascinating epilogue by a leading expert on European cave paintings, Jean Clottes, that fleshes out the scientific study of the images. Since chances are that only archeologists will ever get to go inside the Chauvet cave, the rest of us are fortunate to have available the book's many bright, asp, and mesmerizing photographs.

©1997 Walt Disney Company






Maintained by Francis F. Steen, Communication Studies, University of California Los Angeles