Chauvet Painting Descriptions
Age / Period
The sections of the Chauvet cave are geologically distinctive, and the artists used this to differentiate the rock art. The long-eared Owl is found in the second section of the cave, which is separated from the first section by a chamber which contains no wall art, even though there is suitable rock canvas for it - an archetypal curatorial device. The second section of the cave offers different artistic techniques. Black is now the predominant colour, and engraving is common. The Owl has been engraved by using a tool on the soft surface of the rock, once this surface had been prepared and scraped clean. The intriguing aspect of the Owl is that it is depicted with its head seen from the front but its body from the back. It may well be the earliest representation of the birds unique ability to turn its head through 180 degrees, an ability which many cultures associate with supernatural powers. One sees the Owl whilst returning from the deepest depths of the cave - is it looking back down there, with its inhumane ability to see in the dark?