Artists complete life-size replica of Lascaux?s prehistoric cave paintings

20th January, 2016
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