Radiocarbon analyses indicate that charcoal used by painters at Chauvet comes from pines that were alive some 32,000 years ago. It follows that these are easily the world’s oldest known paintings. The only figurative artifacts that we know to predate Chauvet are some slightly older carvings in stone and mammoth ivory dug up from cave floors in Swabia (in southern Germany) and Austria. Herzog brings these sculptures into his film, along with some flutes carved from bone found at the same sites. Looking at these remains, so it strikes him, we are looking at the very roots of art and of music. “It is as if,” he at one point muses, “the human soul had awakened here.”

Julian Bell, Werner Herzog and the World’s Oldest Paintings

Radiocarbon analyses indicate that charcoal used by painters at Chauvet comes from pines that were alive some 32,000 years ago. It follows that these are easily the world’s oldest known paintings. The only figurative artifacts that we know to predate Chauvet are some slightly older carvings in stone and mammoth ivory dug up from cave floors in Swabia (in southern Germany) and Austria. Herzog brings these sculptures into his film, along with some flutes carved from bone found at the same sites. Looking at these remains, so it strikes him, we are looking at the very roots of art and of music. “It is as if,” he at one point muses, “the human soul had awakened here.”

Julian Bell, Werner Herzog and the World’s Oldest Paintings

  1. ardecheweb reblogged this from nybooks and added:
    A piece of Cavern Pont d’Arc/Chauvet in english !
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    Beauty, truth; truth, beauty.
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  9. golosugarfoot reblogged this from nybooks and added:
    caught the trailer for this yesterday, and am looking forward to it.
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