The 1990s have witnessed a sort of renaissance in cave art, thanks to new discoveries from the south of France. Previously, the oldest examples of human art were thought to have been painted 15,000 years ago. When these three spelunkers-turned-authors happened upon the Chauvet cave (named after one of them), however, they visited an underground art gallery that had been closed for 30,000 years. It's still inaccessible today, except to specialists. But this wonderful book of pictures and text allows virtual tourists to appreciate the creations of our remotest ancestors. This may be primitive art in the literal sense of the term, but it's remarkably sophisticated.
From Library Journal
The prehistoric paintings recently discovered in Chauvet Cave are twice as old as the paintings of Lascaux, and show both considerable strength and beauty. The discoverers of Chauvet Cave are well known and respected speleologists who maintained impeccable records while exploring their find. It is they who tell the story of their explorations. In many ways this book is reminiscent of Carter's writings about Tutankhamen's tomb with a similar sense of awe at the millennia that had passed between the fabrication of the work and the modern discovery. The text is good, with a clean, easy-to-read translation by prehistorian Paul G. Bahn, who also provides the foreword. It is the photographs, however, that capture the real power and beauty of these paintings, bringing the humanity of their Stone Age artists close to home. Very highly recommended for any collection on art history or prehistory.?Mary Morgan Smith, Northland P.L., Pittsburgh
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.