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lascaux cave replica

An army of artists and painters have completed three years
of painstaking work and created a true-to-life replica of the famous Lascaux
cave paintings, which are over 18,000 years old.

The highly intricate and faithful copy is now ready to be
transported to its new home at the International Centre of Parital Art,
situated just down the road from the original, found in a hillside in Montignac
in the Dordogne region.

Almost 2000 Upper Paleolithic wall paintings feature in the
collection, featuring depictions of rhinos, horses, panthers, bison and deer,
with the Lascaux cave paintings being labelled as Europe?s most important
collection of prehistoric art and awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status in 1979.
The people behind the cave paintings are believed to have come to Europe from
Africa and via Asia.

The original cave paintings were discovered in 1940, quickly
becoming hugely popular with tourists, though access was sealed off in 1963 to
help protect and preserve the paintings. A limited set of reproductions have
been on display since, though this large-scale project means that visitors can
observe the cave paintings in their entirety.

Francis Ringenbach, the project?s artistic director, said
that the main goal of the reproduction was to be as faithful to the original as
possible, which ultimately slowed the process down. He said: ?sometimes
one has to spend hours reproducing just 10 square centimetres?. Technology was
on their side in helping them to accurately reproduce the paintings, as they
employed 3D digital scans which acted like tracing paper as images of the
original were projected onto the wall for artists to paint over.

Ringenbach also reflected on the importance of the
project, saying ?here, we reach a whole new level in terms of helping
people to understand what Lascaux represents for science, the history of
art, prehistory?.

If you?re planning on visiting the caves and
witnessing a truly extraordinary piece of history on your luxury family
holidays to France
, the centre is expected to open by the end of year, ready to
shine a light on the fascinating lives of our prehistoric ancestors.

Image: Bayes Ahmed,
available under Creative Commons

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