Themes of the Lascaux Caves

                One of the most interesting aspects of Les Caves de Lascaux for me is the themes that are represented throughout the caves. Together, the caves represent the three themes of animals, human figures and signs. Considering the unique landscape that these early humans must have lived in and the extremely lush surroundings, one would think that paintings of nature and flora would be commonplace. However, the caves do not depict the landscape around them nor the evolution of the land (i.e. the differences in the land as it was changed throughout time).

                While animals are a representation of the fauna that surrounded these tribes, it is rather interesting that there are very few depictions of carnivores (in comparison to herbivores) and that there are very few human depictions. Furthermore, I found it confusing that the human renderings can be just single parts of the human body (such as a hand) or a human with animal parts instead of human ones. I’m not sure exactly what this means, maybe a rendering of how these tribes viewed their deities? Perhaps the drawings are similar to the Incas or Mayans who often depicted their gods as half human, half animal.

                Lastly, the description of the rooms mentions that there are signs that are located throughout the cave. These include dots, lines, and streaks, but there is no description offered. I am hesitant to believe that they are there merely to make the paintings look nicer but at the same time I cannot offer an alternative. Perhaps they were used to represent things in nature that were hard to see or depict such as the wind? The most compelling elements of these paintings are the ones that leave me questioning. I would love to know the intent behind these pictures and the stories that the artists wanted the viewers of the caves to know.

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