Were the Chauvet paintings created by artists or simply various members of the tribe? Was art a specialized and sacred practice?
The artists of Chauvet Cave used a great diversity of techniques to create its equally diverse artworks, ranging from monumental to very discrete. It is thus certain that many artists with varied and distinct skills participated in this endeavor. We can distinguish prodigious artists who mastered form, color, and figurative rendering on the rock walls from others who drew simple, less visible, or even invisible, images. All these artists nonetheless adhered to same rules in their depictions of animals, humans, and geometric signs, and we can thus see that they shared the same culture and skills but not the same experience in creating art on cave walls. While there is, therefore, no reason to believe that all the artists were specialists, those who created the masterpieces certainly were, and they existed alongside the specialized flint knappers of this time, 36,000 years ago.
'The Final Passage' - a cinematic and immersive short film of Chauvet Cave in France, available until June 7th. Comment