La Grotte de Pech Merle

La Grotte de Pech Merle is a series of caves full of prehistoric cave paintings, dating from between 24,000 and 29,000 years ago. The drawings are truly incredible in their simple beauty, with a few lines describing the shape and movement of a buffalo, a mammoth, or a cow.

 

(These photos are from the website as you are not allowed to take photos inside)

However, the paintings that really left me speechless were the two spotted horses, and the stencils of hands surrounding them.

14-Chevaux-ponctues-grotte-Pech-Merle Standing in front of these images I felt the breath had been knocked out of me, the makers of these paintings seemed to be so close, so familiar. The horses, with their stylistic little heads, manes and spots, could be modernist paintings. The hand prints were made by placing a hand on the wall and blowing pigment (manganese oxide) in order to create a stencil. They created such an immediate and evocative link to the people who lived here, I felt I could almost reach out and touch them.

 

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