Why is this a unique piece of work?

An exceptional set of artwork

 

The painted Caverne du Pont-d’Arc is home to a set of extraordinary artwork that is unique due to its old age (36,000 years old), its size, and its various pictorial qualities. To this day, there is no other example of its kind in the world. The cave paintings have been exceptionally well preserved. It seems that the works have been kept intact, which provides a spiritual dimension to the cave that our Palaeolithic ancestors could have given to it.

The Bestiary

The illustrated bestiary on the cave walls (425 animals) is mainly composed of fierce animals (cave lions and bears, panthers, mammoths, woolly mammoths). This choice of animals makes this cave different from other painted caves, most of which are not as old, and whose bestiaries are mainly composed of animals that our ancestors hunted (horses, cows, and ibexes). The third characteristic of the cave is that it is the most accomplished piece of artwork dating from the Upper Palaeolithic period known to this day.

Horse panel. The outlined horses parallel to and superimposed upon each other. Whilst the contours of the lower jaws are stump drawn, the nostrils are finely drawn via scraping, to the detriment to the rhinoceros’s back.

Géology

Finally, a thick loose rock embankment cuts off the cave from the outside world. This has spared the cave of at least 20,000 years of destruction and stamping by animals and humans. As such, this is also a mineral museum whose geological evolution has remained completely undisturbed.

A spectacular set of draperies