Sunday, February 14, 2010

Paintings of Lascaux

Looking at the paintings from the grotto of Lascaux, two thoughts came to my mind:
-does art exist without a viewer?
-can man live without art?

These two questions do not have a final answer. These paintings from the Paleolithic age, 17000 years ago, bring material to the debate. They were physically in the grotto before their discovery in 1940 by two schoolboys but did not have an existence. Forgotten for so many centuries, they became alive again.
What would become of the paintings of an artist if not displayed? The viewer fills the piece of art with significance, discovers its "aura", the term is used by Steven E. Starowicz in his thesis titled "Art in Peril". What makes these paintings art and not artifacts? Were they created to be art, or is the viewer transforming them into art when looking at them?

The second question brings up the relevance of art in everyday life. I debated this subject many times with friends: "Art is a luxury, when people need food, they do not care about art."
My answer is that art is essential to life, and represents its legacy.

Picasso looking at the paintings openly wept and said that we had not invented anything.

The paintings viewed in the confinement of the caves must take their full dimension. Unfortunately, the visits are not allowed. The grotto is now closed to the public in order to preserve them.

A replica of the grotto called Lascaux II has been built near Montignac. It contains the reproductions of 200 paintings from the cave. There are also numerous videos on Utube.

The photographs are public domain.

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