Discovery Appearance and Meaning of Cave paintings in France and Spain



The essay "Discovery, Appearance and Meaning of Cave paintings in France and Spain" explores Cave paintings in France and Spain. Nearly two hundred cave paintings have been discovered so far in France and Spain, and they still continue, as the recent discovery of cave paintings in the Vilhonneur forests, in the Charente region of western France suggest. However, the cave paintings in the Lascaux Cave of Montignac, in the Dordogne region of southwest France, and Altamira, in northwest Spain, still remain the more significant examples of pre-historic cave paintings. The initial discovery of the caves, and the paintings at Altamira were made in the later half of the nineteenth century by accident. In 1868 a hunter’s dog chasing a fox fell among some boulders, and the hunter, in attempting to rescue the dog discovered the entrance to the famous cave. The cave paintings took more than a decade later to be discovered, again by accident. The owner of the estate in which the cave was located was an amateur archeologist. His young daughter accompanied him on one of his trips into the cave, to look for tools, in 1879. She looked up at the ceiling, and became the first person in modern times to espy the herd of red animals painted across the ceiling. Initially these paintings were not accepted as pre-historic paintings, and believed to be forgeries a mere twenty years old. In the beginning of the twentieth century efforts of the French priest Henri Breuil made the world aware of this finest example.