Art in Motion

The video on the Chauvet cave was very interesting and a great change of pace. One normally expects for a documentary to be dry or overly-acted in an attempt for reenactment. This particular documentary, which I looked up and has an incredibly good metacritic rating, lived up to the hype surrounding it. The history, connotations, significance, and government intervention were all explained in detail very efficaciously. After seeing what happened to another cave once the floodgates of tourism were let loose, the French government decided to severely restrict access to Chauvet’s cave. Why would anyone want to harm or desecrate works of art and paint that have been so well preserved that scientists at first believed them to be a re-creation? Surely most do not seek to harm the site, but one bad apple, or even enough people, will cause damage regardless.

The fact that this incredible archaeological discovery was stumbled upon as one of, if not the most well preserved time capsules in history shows that some people are luckier than others (not that hard work and dedication did not also play a large part as well). Having such a discovery named after you must feel very endearing and one can rest more easily at night knowing just how important of a contribution they made to understanding human culture. The fact that animals inhabited the cave before and after neanderthals used it, as a sort of art workshop, shows that all things return to nature in the long run. Even more interesting is that the artwork done depicts such animals that lived in the cave and other paleolithic beasts that no longer roam the earth.

Obviously, however, the most important and telling aspect of this cave is the incredibly well preserved art that coats its walls. I am very interested to know what materials they used to make this paint as well. An interesting thing about the painted depictions of animals shows that the need for expressing human creativity never stops and that human inventions and ingenuity have always existed. The only main difference from then and now is the technology and infrastructure that the modern world is able to uphold. The flute-like instrument that the man played the “Star Spangled Banner” on was awesome as it shows the importance of music and rhythm even in a “barbaric” culture like the neanderthals. Another cool invention was the spear hurling apparatus that the man attempted to demonstrate how to use. It would be great to see one of its creators use it to hunt large beasts. Just imagining that seems like something out of a movie.

In any case, the scenes that these people portrayed in their artwork are truly remarkable. Adding multiple legs to the mammoths or horses in order for the flickering light of a torch to make them seem as if they were moving is such a cool idea and must have seemed like a motion picture to them. They were able to use their imagination and relate to the world around them in a way that people today simply do not have. It is hard to be imaginative when we grow up with smartphones, TVs, computers, and the like always imagining things for us. These painting had a strong purpose and potentially brought joy and wonderment to those of old and young age alike.