The Cave at Niaux, France

cave at niaux with mountain

In the winter and with snow on the ground outside, I took an atmospheric torch lit tour of the cave at Niaux. The purpose was to get a glimpse of rare Prehistoric cave paintings. One kilometre in, we all turned our torches off and stood in the pitch darkness. The guide demonstrated the unique acoustics of the cave room and then illuminated the drawings one by one.

Bison, horses (you can tell the breed!) ibex and deer.

The drawings on the wall are so sophisticated it made me wonder how the artists had produced the images. These images must have involved a great deal of looking at the subject. The artists had knowledge of the animals’ anatomy. They must have practiced drawing. They must have tried out the materials to see what they could do with them.

So, where and on what did the painters of the cave at Naiux do their preliminary sketches?


Photos: Sieveking (1979)
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