LASCAUX -- MOVEMENT, SPACE, AND TIME

Re: LASCAUX -- MOVEMENT, SPACE, AND TIME

Postby admin » Sat Sep 12, 2015 11:59 pm

THE PANEL OF THE IMPRINT

Immediately underneath, in a broad recess in the wall, the Panel of the Imprint (ill. 118) extends over 4 metres. Its location and its proximity to the floor make it the least conspicuous of the major compositions of the cave. Nevertheless. it contains no fewer than twelve figures, divided between two themes: nine horses, the most accomplished of which face the exit, and three bison, two of which are incomplete. All the species have a technical unity due to the combined use of painting (to fill in the outlines) and engraving (for the structure). Two colours were used: brown for the body and black for both the fore- and hindlimbs and for certain other anatomical elements, such as the mane of the horse and the horns of the bison. The successive removal of material during engraving produces straw-yellow lines, which contrast with the darker background.

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117 The composition of the Imprint is organized around the themes of the horse and the bison. The latter appears, at first sight, to be represented only once, but with greater attention it is possible to identify two further subjects, one of them reduced to a head, the other to the croup and the hindlimbs

The bison on the right has several outlines, which may simulate movement but could also represent the superimposition of figures in their own right. The horns of this large bovine are confused by a second pair of horns in the background. The croup and the hindquarters of a third bison obliterate these two neighbouring images (ill. 118). The central subject of the frieze of the horses also shows signs of animation (ill. 120), bringing together six superimposed and associated heads and manes. The agitation demonstrated by this multiplicity of forms, the powerful neck and the covering of the croup of the equid in front, possibly a mare with more rounded outlines, all support the argument that this equid is male.

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118 Their position, in a recess and at the foot of the wall, marginalizes to some extent the figures of the Panel of the Imprint. Nonetheless, this is one of the major compositions of the southern sector of the sanctuary.

There are horse heads at each end of the panel: two on the left, close to a quadrangular sign, another to the right, associated with an identical sign. These same quadrangular motifs are found on the neck of the horse at the base of the panel and between the two large equids of the upper level. There are further signs on these last two equids. On the left. a series of nested elements is found next to a barbed sign with a long central branch. Seven equally barbed signs are aligned along the flank of the stallion to the right. There is an identical number of oblique, hooked traces on the flank of the bison.

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119 This elongated herd of horses, partially hidden by the Great Black Cow, extends across several metres. The majority of its subjects face the entrance. Only the separate heads face the back.

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120 The animation given by the repetition of the lines of the head and the mane, the powerful neck and the covering of the croup of the horse in front, a mare with a more rounded outline, show that this horse is male.

THE PANEL OF THE GREAT BLACK COW

The panel of the Great Black Cow stands on the left wall (ill. 119), in the centre, and extends horizontally, in contrast to the sloping floor. Over the entire 7-metre length of the composition. this creates a significant difference in height relative to the floor, from 1.8 metres close to the entrance to 3.5 metres at the far end, The panel lies on the overhang and covers two adjacent cavities of unequal size. The vertical ridge, which marks their division some three quarters of the way along, follows the front line of the Great Black Cow. This panel is underlain by a continuous ridge covered with a very dark deposit. A platform of irregular width provides access to all its areas.

The organization of the panel centres on bovines and equids. Nevertheless, after careful examination, a small engraved head and two pairs of ibex horns (ill. 121) were identified, on the flank of the horse furthest from the entrance. This association of figures is not unlike that of the panel of the Falling Cow, which has similar numbers of individuals for each theme. With the exception of one of the ibexes, the orientation of the figures also contributes to the similarity of these two panels. It is extremely rare to discover such convincing analogies in Palaeolithic parietal art, particularly from the same site.

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121 Two incomplete engravings of ibexes disturb the homogeneity of the brown coat of this horse. Thematically, their presence is somewhat reminiscent of the panel of the Falling Cow in the Axial Gallery. This latter composition also contains numerous horses and a cow, turned in the opposite direction.

Some twenty horses face the entrance, in a single or double line, This herd is partially obliterated by a very large black cow (ill. 122), which is 2.15 metres long and looks in the opposite direction. It is distinguished from the other female aurochs by the numerous repetitions of the outlines of the upper and lower lines, as well as the croup, which have made the cow look larger. Only the tips of the horns, the muzzle and the lower lip are drawn with a brush. The outline is covered by a field of even black colour, which is completed in its upper part by a brown band emphasizing the line of the back. Over time, weathering has created several fine lines or gaps in the colour. These marks may look like subsequent engraving, but they are entirely beneath the colour. The passage of the engraver's tool across the wall had the effect of increasing the friability of the rock locally, which weakened the adherence of the pigment to the wall.

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122 The Great Black Cow obliterates numerous horses and signs. Its outline shows traces of a number of adjustments, particularly on the croup, the back and the line of the belly.

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123 It is difficult to make out this engraved outline of an equid, which rears up at the centre of the broad expanse of black colour of the coat of the Great Black Cow.

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124 At the left edge of the panel of the Great Black Cow, on the flanks of a brown horse outlined in black, a smaller, engraved horse can be detected inside its silhouette.

The horses at the periphery are not the only figures to have been obliterated by the Great Black Cow. Overlapping the belly of the cow is a complete equid (ill. 123), whose hindlimbs extend beyond the boundary of the aurochs. This horse is rearing up and has remarkable vitality. The partial horses along the first metres of the panel are turned towards the back of the gallery. There are two heads straddling a third individual, whose outline is completed by the line of the back Beyond this, there is a long procession of seventeen equids facing the entrance, all painted and engraved. The technique, very dependent upon the support, is identical to that used for the Imprint. A faint line, incised for the pre-positioning of the figure, defines the limits of the field of colour applied by spraying (ill. 124). Peripheral elements, particularly the fore- and hindlimbs and the tail, were painted with a brush. In a final stage, the outline was accentuated by engraving or scraping, As in the previous panel, certain anatomical elements have a double or even triple outline, an operation often preceded by scraping, as if it had been necessary to suppress the original image (ill. 125), These successive corrections affect the tail, the head and the fore- and hindlimbs.

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125 The original position of the head of this horse may not have conformed to accepted conventions because it was subsequently scraped and then redrawn.

This herd is divided graphically into two parts. The boundary is the aurochs, which masks subjects belonging to each of the groups. The morphological variations, although recognizable, nonetheless remain insufficient to be able to identify a different artist. The observed similarities are more numerous than the differences, The horses placed behind the Great Black Cow have, among other details, a slightly more gracile form and oblong hooves, whereas the equids located at the front are stockier and have round hooves (ill. 126). This difference is nor specific to this panel since it is found in other sectors of the cave, In fact, the first group has similarities to the red horse and the brown horse in the Hall of the Bulls, while the second resembles the group of black painted horses immediately underneath, but also those of the Axial Gallery and, more specifically, the Chinese Horses. There are far fewer geometric signs than figures. Nonetheless, the panel contains a total of three quadrangular signs (ill. 127), at the centre of the composition and underneath the large bovine, The extremities of the hindlimbs and the tail of the cow touch the lett upper line of each one, They are all constructed on the basis of juxtaposed coloured fields of rectangular shape, An engraved line completes their partitioning. The colours are identical to those used for the animals. Nevertheless, two of the elements of the quadrangular sign on the left are mauve (ill. 145). This colour is found only exceptionally.

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126 The silhouettes of the painted and engraved horses in front of the Great Black Cow differ from those of the second group on the other wing of this panel.

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127 Numerous quadrangular signs punctuate the majority of the decorated walls. The most accomplished belong to the panel of the Great Black Cow. They are blazons and have been painted by juxtaposing small squares or rectangles of composite colours with deeply engraved outlines.
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Re: LASCAUX -- MOVEMENT, SPACE, AND TIME

Postby admin » Sun Sep 13, 2015 12:02 am

THE CROSSED BISON

In the most remote part of the hall, below the panel of the Great Black Cow, the wall curves inwards. It is the only regular surface of this level. This recess is below an overhang) and the wall at this point forms an angular interface. The particular configuration of the location must certainly have influenced the position of the figures) since each plane integrates only one of the two representations of this composition. This diptych bears testament to the fact that the visual impact of a work is not proportional to the number of figures it holds. It shows two bison moving away from each other (ill. 128). Their croups are superimposed, which in no way alters the individuality of the two subjects. Indeed, a reserve left uncoloured around the thigh of the left bison gives the impression that it is in the foreground. The simulation of the third dimension is a constant in the great majority of the animal depictions at Lascaux. The panel of the Crossed Bison unites the graphic conventions developed by Palaeolithic man to achieve this effect. These processes will be expanded upon in the following chapters.

This panel is also distinguished by the absence of engravings, as spraying and brush techniques were used to paint the two representations. The mode of graphic expression used here was determined by the unusual hardness of the rock, contrasted with the relatively fragile character of the background of the previous panels (since the entrance into the Passageway). This phenomenon is related to a change in the level of the stratification of the rock. Identical conditions are found on the walls of the Shaft Scene, a composition located at the same level.

A field of black colour covers practically the entire body of the left bison, with an irregular internal area marked in red, possibly representing the spring moult. The construction of the bison on the right is different, not in its very dense covering of pigment, which here also covers the whole of the animal, but through the presence of distinct violet patches (the result of a mixing of red and black pigments or the superimposition of a second projection of black colouring on to an initially red field of colour). The external anatomical parts -- the horns, tails and limbs -- are drawn with a brush, except for the horns of the bison on the right. Here, a hand was used as a stencil during the spraying of the pigments. The eye is absent from both figures. The yellow mark on the left bison, which might be interpreted as an eye, is only the scar of a small flake that detached from the wall after the wall was painted - a fortuitous accident that was to lead a good number of observers to misinterpret this mark. This natural deterioration is not an isolated incident: there are small signs of exfoliation over the entire surface.

THE SWIMMING STAGS

The panel of the Swimming Stags decorates the tight wall (ill. 129), rising 1.8 metres above the floor near the threshold and 2.5 metres at the far end. The frieze assembles five large stag heads, all turned towards the back of the gallery, and also the less conspicuous partial head of a horse, which is of much more modest proportions and faces in the opposite direction to the stags. This horse was executed in the same way as the other horses of this hall, with a black mane, a brown back and an engraved upper line. A series of seven sprayed brick-red dots (ill. 130) underlines the small sketch of the equid. The only primarily engraved element of the panel is situated to its right. With all due precaution, it could be interpreted as the back line of a quadruped.

The five large stags were painted with a brush. Calcite outgrowths present on the wall and white excrescences younger than the figures give the lines a segmented appearance. The four figures on the left are black, while the one on the right is ochre-coloured. The material used for tracing the outline of the latter might have been clay, fragments of which were found on the narrow ledge that underlies the beginning of the panel. This juxtaposition of stags, limited to the neck, head and antlers, all noticeably distributed along a line following the same slope as the floor, suggests a herd crossing a river. It is perhaps not essential to attach too much importance to the narrative potential of the panels as it would then be necessary to extend this interpretation to other friezes constructed in a similar way, such as the ibexes in the same hall or the yellow bulls in the Axial Gallery. Nevertheless, this frieze looks set to remain 'the Swimming Stags' for a long time to come.

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128 The last major composition before the Chamber of the Felines, the diptych of the Crossed Bison combines all the graphical conventions of perspective.

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129 This composition seems to show swimming stags: outlines reduced to heads, the subjects arranged in single file, and a contrasting background colour suggesting the presence of water. However, this interpretation remains a hypothesis.

The Figures of the Innermost Depths

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On the axis of the Nave and beyond the undecorated Mondmilch Gallery there is a straight, and sometimes very narrow, corridor. This is the Chamber of the Felines, the final retreat of the sanctuary. The excavations led by Andre Glory in the first part of the sanctuary brought to light an irregular floor, with hollows rendering its passage arduous as far as the southern Shaft. After this last obstacle, the second part extends for a further 22 metres. The Chamber of the Felines contains only 10 per cent of the figures in the gallery: the unusual architecture of the tunnel dictated a distribution of the figures in small groups, separated from each other by the vertical ridges of the hollows.

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130 A few rare and discrete motifs complete the composition of the Swimming Stags, in particular a line of seven red dots and a small incomplete silhouette of a horse.

The huge compositions of the spaces traversed so far are succeeded by more modest formations. The bestiary is. in part, faithful to that already discussed, except for the presence of six felines. There is a fairly significant number of partial or fragmentary figures. As in the rest of the sanctuary, the horses dominate, making up twenty-nine of the fifty-one identified animals. The bison, in second place with nine subjects. here replaces the aurochs, which does not have a single representative. The remainder is divided between stags and ibexes, with three and four motifs respectively.

The first third of the gallery - the most densely decorated zone - is subdivided into three sections of noticeably equal length, although they are different morphologically. They are in fact two local enlargements separated by a section of tunnel with a very low roof.

The compartment closest to the entrance is dominated by the feline image. There are three felines on each wall. Two other figures, with less conspicuous outlines, may also be felines, although it is impossible to identify them accurately. The orientation of the figures shows the same symmetry in each group: two of the three subjects are turned towards the back of the gallery. The felines drawn head to tail are associated with hooked lines. One of the felines on the left wall bears eight of them. The very summary character of the Palaeolithic representations of carnivores has often been highlighted. Those of Lascaux are no exception. Their identification is nevertheless well- founded, thanks to the low carriage of the head, the semi-circular ears, the square muzzle and the tail prolonging the line of the back. Their sex, rarely represented in parietal art, is here well marked on the most accomplished feline on the right wall (ill. 131). At the base of the tail, the observed protrusion indicating the scrotum proves that this is a male. Two sinuous, parallel lines were engraved here, representing the marking of territory. as Andre Leroi-Gourhan pointed out. The animation is completed by a series of parallel lines coming our of the mouth, which could represent either the breath of the animal or the vomiting of blood following an internal injury, or even a graphic metaphor for roaring.

The same alcove is occupied by many other figures, most of them located on the right. At the opposite edge of the panel and on the same horizontal line as that of the felines, three (perhaps even as many as five) male ibexes are recognizable due to their very developed horns. The most complete ibex has its head and neck, as well as the lines of the eye, the nostril and the ear. This group, which was originally more legible, suffers from graphic overcrowding owing primarily to the outline of the hypothetical seventh feline. Some of the engravings of the upper level are only partially finished, especially those of the bison and the horses, while others show a certain originality. Included among the latter is a very delicate representation of a hind, recognizable by its very long neck and lack of antlers. Another original figure, a horse viewed head-on (ill. 132), is in the centre of the panel. This perspective is very rarely reproduced in this Palaeolithic context.

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131 The Chamber of the Felines owes its name to the six engravings that straddle the entrance to this low and narrow corridor. It is possible to make out the scrotum of the lion. The two sinuous lines below the tail and the parallel incisions emerging from the mouth (possibly indicating roaring) suggest that the lion is marking out its territory.

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132 Most of the animal figures painted or engraved on the walls of caves are shown in profile. Frontal views, such as this horse, are the exception.

The right wall and part of the ceiling of the runnel section of the gallery are characterized by the presence of two large engraved quadrangular signs. The panel of the Crossed Bison extends along 1.5 metres of the facing wall. Here, there are several overlapping figures with incomplete outlines. This is certainly intentional, since the conditions of preservation in the Chamber of the Felines are better than in the Apse or the Passageway. Three images emerge from this confusion of lines and images: the very precise outline of a small equid, traced at the left edge of this group; and two very partial bison, one represented by the croup, the tail and the hindlimbs, the other only by its horns, in the form of a crescent moon.

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133 Stag isolated in the midst of a herd of eleven horses.

The most detailed group of the gallery, the panel of the horses, is situated on the right wall of the second alcove, at the far end of the runnel, and is 3.5 metres long. With the exception of one depiction of a stag (ill. 133) in the centre, this last great composition is dedicated to eleven horses. All face the exit, except for the two in the margin (the first on the right, the second in the upper pan). Technically, they differ from the preceding figures, as the central horses are painted. Nevertheless, the pigment - black for some and brown for the one on the right - does not follow the engraved outlines exactly; the fields of colour are not strictly superimposed over the incised figures, unless they have been painted over twice. A sign on the neck of one of these horses at the centre of the panel used to be interpreted as a 'hut perched in a tree' (ill. 134). The facing wall is less decorated. Some rare, mostly incomplete or indeterminate, figures have been inserted between two series of parallel lines. On the right, the lines appear more explicit. Four cruciform signs with disjointed branches are deeply engraved into the wall. Immediately below, the last figure is a headless quadruped.

The beginning and the far side of the southern Shaft are marked by fragmentary drawings, integrated into the contours of the walls and reminiscent of those of the preceding spaces, with simple or double parallel lines, one a branching figure, another with nested segments. The final figurative image, a bison shown only by its forehead (ill. 135), is framed by a cruciform sign painted in black, which is associated with three parallel lines, the whole strangely evocative of the Roman number XIII, and a double row of red dots (ill. 136) on the facing wall, which are the last graphic evidence from this southern branch of the cave. The location, at the deepest extremity of the decorated zone, and the form of the sign as a paired alignment make it the exact duplicate of the sign in the panel of the Shaft Scene, although the colours differ.

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134 The iconography of the Lascaux Cave features strange figures, such as this tree house. Its meaning remains an enigma to us.

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135 A few metres from the bottom, on the right wall, the final animal theme is a bison, only the head and horns of which have been represented by forceful engraving.

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136 Group of six red dots. They are highly reminiscent of those that mark the end of the decoration of the Shaft. The same graphical units are found again at the end of the Chamber of the Felines. Only the colour is different. The other two paler red dots, located immediately below, are recent.
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Re: LASCAUX -- MOVEMENT, SPACE, AND TIME

Postby admin » Sun Sep 13, 2015 12:05 am

The Animals of Lascaux: An Ethological Approach

The naturalism of the majority of the animal representations at Lascaux allows us to recognize seasonal features. Nevertheless, not all the figures lend themselves to this study, and their interpretation is sometimes disturbed by significant erosion. As we have seen, phenomena of corrosion are present to a greater degree in the Passageway and the Apse. The fragmentary nature of some figures limits the possibilities of interpretation further. Finally, several animal species, such as the bear, the feline or the bird, are present in such limited numbers or possess too slight variations to draw conclusions from them. In numerous cases, these factors can coincide. For these reasons, the ethological study has had to be limited co the three most frequent species: the horse, the aurochs and the stag, which together represent more than 80 per cent of the bestiary.

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137 Winter-summer variations of the coat of the Przewalski species are significant. they affect not only the hide but also the tail.

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138 The horse in front of the Falling Cow, in the Axial Gallery, has the same winter coat as present-day wild horses.

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139 The pronounced development of the tail of the first Chinese horse, in the Axial Gallery, is also a seasonal indicator. It shows that it is winter.

THE HORSES

Descriptions of the Lascaux horses generally concentrate on their thickset outline and their underdeveloped fore- and hindlimbs. As Henri Breuil said, 'Their legs are very short and their bodies very thick, which gives ... the appearance of ancient Chinese paintings.' [26] Andre Leroi-Gourhan also commented on 'these Bassett hound animals, all belly'. [27]

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140 The black horse, in the Hall of the Bulls, raises its forelimbs, showing one of the gestures of the mating display. During the mating season, confrontations between male horses are frequent.

This particular morphology may be related to stylistic conventions. Nevertheless, no other representative of the bestiary, aurochs, stag or ibex, possesses an outline that is similar or, more precisely, as distinctive. These horses have often been interpreted as pregnant mares. This is a possibility, but it is interesting to emphasize that this condition can be difficult to recognize in nature if the animal is viewed in profile. The diagnosis is more appropriate if the horse is viewed from the front, where it is possible to recognize a bulge on each flank, which is more pronounced on one side than on the other. Despite the large size of the foetus, the external symptoms remain subtle, even during the last months of gestation. Observation spread over several months of the year has allowed us co analyse, among other things, the morphological development of horses of the Przewalski species during the different seasons. These animals are kept in a wild state with no human intervention, even during very harsh winters, and are divided between three herds scattered over a vast area of the Causse Mejean Plateau in Lozere. [28] Their appearance changes throughout the year, as their coat is thicker in the winter than in the summer (ill. 137). During the entire winter period, but also at the beginning of spring, the silhouette of the horse retains a bulkiness very similar to that seen on the Palaeolithic representations at Lascaux.

Other indications, present on several equids in the cave, also suggest a winter coat. In the locality of the Upside-Down Horse, on the flank of the yellow horse, for example, there are groups of three parallel streaks, which are darker than the rest of the field of colour. Identical features are found more distinctly on the third Chinese horse and also On the very accomplished figure located in front of the Falling Cow (ill. 138). The manifestation of seasonality is also reinforced by the very marked development of the tail, a feature shared by the majority of the Lascaux horses (ill. 139). lr always reaches the hooves and sometimes even extends beyond the imaginary line of the ground (the first Chinese horse, for instance).

The difference in bulkiness between summer and winter is more marked in females than in males, which are much more active. The end of winter is the mating season. Fights between males occur constantly and are sometimes violent; the animation of certain subjects portrays this aggressive behaviour, which precedes the phase of copulation. Raising their forelimbs depicts one of the gestures of the mating display (ill. 140) or the confrontations between males. This behaviour is easily recognizable and is found on several occasions, particularly in the first Chinese horse, or the subject on the left of the frieze of the black horses in the Hall of the Bulls. More rarely, the horse is shown rearing up, such as the figure inside the outline of the Great Black Cow.

All these indications combine to show that the Lascaux horses were painted, drawn or engraved with specific features representing a period extending from the end of winter to the beginning of spring.

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141 Second bull, Hall of the Bulls. Sexual dimorphism in aurochs is shown by more developed and thicker horns in the males.

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142 Great Black Cow, Nave. Female aurochs have much finer horns than males, with much shorter spans across their curvature.
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Re: LASCAUX -- MOVEMENT, SPACE, AND TIME

Postby admin » Sun Sep 13, 2015 12:07 am

THE AUROCHS

Sexual dimorphism in the aurochs shows itself in many ways. The horns of the males are more developed and thicker (ill. 141), whereas in females, the much more delicate horns have a much shorter span across their curvature (ill. 142). Furthermore, the outline of the cows is more gracile. In males, their stockiness is exaggerated by the short forelimbs and a highly expanded chest, while the facial angle is more open.

These features were interpreted by Breuil as possibly belonging to two distinct varieties of aurochs: 'Cattle-bulls ... are only really abundant at Lascaux, where two species are represented: first Aurochs primigenius, then Aurochs longifrons.'' [29] This hypothesis was contested by Koby, [30] who showed that these differences were due to the respective sex of the animals. The coat allows a similar distinction between males and females. This difference is recognizable on the forequarters, more particularly on the shoulder and the head. The male aurochs has a scatter of dots, which can extend to the dewlap. This detail is found on the majority of the bulls, particularly those of the Hall of the Bulls. It is found on three of the four heads underneath the upper line of the Great Black Bull in the Axial Gallery. On the facing wall, the head above the Falling Cow does not bear this scatter of dots, which does not mean much as this figure was unfinished (the eye was also not drawn).

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143 Red stag from the group between the two great confronted bulls of the Hall of the Bulls. At Lascaux, antlers -- a clear seasonal indicator -- take on impressive dimensions.

The use of colour inside the outline of the head and the beginning of the body show a highly localized development of the coat. In the male, the difference between the thickness of the hair of the forequarters and the hindquarters is much more marked in summer than in winter, and from this observation it seems that most of the male aurochs represented at Lascaux were depicted in their summer form. The entire group of female aurochs, with their lack of hairiness, confirms this interpretation.

The outline of a young bovine (ill. 54) located behind the fourth bull of the Hall of the Bulls corroborates this analysis. The outline of this calf is closely dependent on the image of the red cow located in front of it, with which it is integrated graphically. The spaces between the head and thigh demonstrate that the calf and the cow belong to the same painting. They are nor two juxtaposed painted figures, bur one and the same entity, and the proportions of one subject to the other are rendered faithfully. The size of the calf, which places it well below the dorsal line of the cow, and its very developed forelimbs indicate an age of between three and five months. This suggests that the young bovine is, like the adults, an animal in summer.

THE STAGS

The seasonal characteristics of the male red deer are even more marked than those of the aurochs or horse. They are predominantly visible in the growth of the antlers (ill. 143). At Lascaux, this attribute is all the more revealing as, in the majority of stags, it takes on enormous proportions. The brow and the bez tines are very developed, as is the crown, and there is also a systematic bifurcation of the trez tines, although this is exceptional both in recent red deer and among palaeontological remains. Whether they are drawn in a frieze or painted at the heart of a different composition, the Lascaux stags often form part of a group, as in the frieze of the Swimming Stags. The presence of antlers and the representation of a gregarious behaviour indicate a quite specific time of the year: male red deer band together shortly before the mating display at the beginning of autumn. The agitation of the black stag at the entrance to the Axial Gallery corroborates this observation. The head and the thrown-back antlers (ill. 65), the open mouth and the rolled-back eye are typical of the rut (ill. 144).

OBSERVATIONS

Analysis of seasonal indicators establishes that each species represented at Lascaux represents a very specific period of the calendar. The horses mark the end of winter or the beginning of spring, the aurochs high summer, whereas the stags have been represented with the attributes of autumn. This is not by chance. Each of these species has been represented at a quite explicit phase of the annual cycle, at the beginning of mating. At this time, they are extremely active and animated. From this point of view, the animal figures of Lascaux contrast with those of numerous other decorated sites, where the images present a much more static outline. The iconography of this cave is, above all, a fantastic ode to life.

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144 Black stag, Axial Gallery. The thrown-back head and antlers, the open mouth and the rolled-back eye are distinctive signs of the rut.
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Re: LASCAUX -- MOVEMENT, SPACE, AND TIME

Postby admin » Sun Sep 13, 2015 12:08 am

CHAPTER 6: The Construction of the Images

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The drawing of an animal or a sign and, beyond that, the project of decorating a cave in its entirety necessitated the pooling of multiple abilities. The natural constituents of the site, such as space, the underlying rock, indeed the conditions of access, are going to influence, and are closely bound up with, the execution of works of art. This approach implies a true synergy between man and the cave itself. It entails genuine organization. which assumes the continuous anticipation of events and leaves only limited room for improvisation.

First it is necessary to select tools for engraving and painting and collect the raw materials for colouration. This requires a comprehensive knowledge of the potential offered by the natural surroundings, from both a geographical and a geological point of view. The execution of the different panels in situ necessitates an optimal knowledge of graphical technology, a great mastery of gesture and the unfailing ability to adapt to the specific morphology of the walls. It will sometimes be necessary to modify less accessible areas, which is impossible without specialized equipment. Finally, the different symbolic and mythological aspects of converting a site into a sanctuary demand a shared idea or thought process, subject to a precise ritual.

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145 The 'blazons', painted at the base of the panel of the Great Black Cow (Nave), reproduce almost completely the palette of colours used on the walls of the site. The use of mauve on two of the six elements that make up the sign is remarkable as it is rarely encountered.

The Raw Materials

The palette of colours used by Palaeolithic people, essentially composed of elements of mineral origin, is relatively limited. It combines black with a range of warm colours, from dark brown to straw yellow, passing through all the shades of red. Colours that diverge from this, such as the mauve sections on the 'blazon' (ill. 145) below the Great Black Cow of the Nave, now under study, are exceptional.

Current methods of pigment analysis require only tiny amounts of material. It was therefore possible to remove perfectly innocuous samples from the parietal works of art, thus allowing multiple sampling, a more precise identification of the pigments and a possible interpretation of the techniques employed. These studies showed that all the painted and drawn figures were essentially made using powdered metallic oxides derived from iron and manganese.

Iron oxides, such as haematite or goethite, are common and widely distributed across more or less the entire region. Our frequent prospecting has led us to the higher regions of the plateaux in particular, where there are numerous sites capable of providing these pigments, which are essentially minerals derived from surface formations and collapsed karst cavities. They ate distributed over a huge area between the Vezere and the Dordogne and they are also present, in a more scattered fashion, in the north-west of the studied region. These ferruginous deposits, formerly scattered, temporally diverse, are located at the summit of the Cretaceous formations.

Studying the materials sampled from the cave paintings showed that the black shades were essentially manganese- based. [31] Carbon (wood, bone charcoal or natural) has rarely been identified to date. [32] This makes it impossible to determine the age of the works by radiocarbon analysis - the method used to date other sites in France, such as Niaux [33] (Ariege), Cosquer [34] (Bouches-du-Rhone), Chauvet [35] (Ardeche) or the caves of the Lot. [36]

Similar older analyses carried out at other ornamented caves in the Dordogne-Rouffignac and Villars - confirm the exclusive presence of manganese. The systematic usage of this mineral in the Perigord prompted me to prospect the perimeter of the drainage basin of the lower Vezere, and part of that of the Dordogne. I also examined documentation [37] regarding the exploitation of mines in the region, from the sixteenth to the twentieth century. It turned out that the region was one of the most important centres in France for the exploitation of manganese.

Known as 'savon des verriers' ('glassmakers' soap'), this material was used in the purification of glass. It was used above all in the nineteenth century in the smelting of iron, and also in the manufacture of chlorine and antiseptic products. In its calcined form, it changes colour from black to mauve - a property exploited for the decoration of enamels and ceramics. During the second half of the nineteenth century, numerous mining concessions were allocated, particularly in the northern part of the Department and between the Vezere and the Dordogne. Well before the production was increased, it had been used for several centuries in a more limited range of applications. The 1778 edition of the Encyclopedie of Diderot and d'Alembert [38] declares, under the rubric Perigueux: ' ... name of a black mineral substance, heavy and dense, difficult to pulverize. It is found in Perigord, Gascony and Dauphine; one also calls it Perigord or Perigord stone .... There is reason to believe that this substance is none other than better-known magnesium or manganese'. In 1578, Blaise de Vigenere [39] used the term pierigot to designate this same mineral in his work Tableaux de platte peinture des deux Philostrate.

There thus exists a long tradition of the production of this material. These studies largely explain the exclusive use of manganese as a black colouring agent by Palaeolithic people. They had it in large quantities and within easy reach. One of the closest manganese sources is only 2.5 kilometres west of the Lascaux hill, on the right bank of the Vezere. Owing to recent exploitation, only a few square metres remain. At other sites, its formation may be quite different.

In the northern region of the Department manganese is found in a stratified position, closely associated with deposits of clay. It occurs in an extremely hard form and was, until the beginning of the last century, mined extensively. The great thickness of the covering clay forced the excavation of large and deep trenches down on to the mineral layer. This took place over very large areas. It is improbable that this variety was used in prehistoric painting, as it is too difficult to grind and access to it is not easy.

In the south of the Department, the formation is very different. On the other hand, the majority of the sites here are of karst origin (ill. 146). The manganese partially -- and in some cases completely -- fills certain cavities. These concentrations often stretch over several hundred cubic metres. The manganese trapped in these formations is found in a less hardened form and is easily extracted and altered.

It is often found associated with calcite, however, which would have made it unsuitable as a pigment in the Palaeolithic, given Palaeolithic man's limited means. More rarely, it has been found in the bed of the Vezere, in the form of small, moderately indurated pebbles. Manganese was clearly not in short supply in the Palaeolithic, but it nevertheless presupposed a certain knowledge, both of the physical environment and of its natural resources.

Preliminary studies to determine the pigments sampled at Lascaux show the absence of any intentional ground mineral extender. Studies at Niaux have shown that this type of preparation, [40] through the addition of constituents other than the pigments, was used 'to obtain good qualities of adhesion to and covering of the painting...and possibly also [to] save, in some cases, the precious pigment'. [41] We agree with the latter interpretation, which might signify a certain deficiency of this colouring agent in the Ariege, as opposed to the Perigord. The profusion of colouring material explains the absence of an extender and its use in pure form in the Lascaux paintings in particular, and in those of the other decorated caves of the Department.

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146 The majority of the localities where manganese is found are of karstic origin. Trapped in these formations, the material partially (and in some cases completely) fills the cavities, often representing several hundred cubic metres.

Technology of the Figures

The artists had to draw their figurative works from memory. The gap in time between the observation of an animal and its representation, in addition to the huge difference between the exterior landscape and the interior of the cave, must have played a part in the way the figures at Lascaux were depicted. Only the essential elements of the model are registered and reproduced, sometimes at the expense of graphical reality.

Two forms of graphic expression dominate Palaeolithic parietal art: drawing and engraving. Nevertheless, it is a far less widespread technique that takes on monumental dimensions at Lascaux: painting. In France, comparable examples of these painted figures are rare and are generally isolated - at Labastide (Hautes-Pyrenees), Portel (Ariege) or Cosquer (Bouches-du-Rh6ne), for example. At Lascaux, painting is found in all sections of the cave, whatever the nature of the underlying surface. The method used for the creation of panels of colour - the spraying of pulverized pigments adapts to all the conditions dictated by the natural environment.

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147 Sign associated with the black stag in the Axial Gallery. The linear trace is replaced by an alignment of dotted elements. Note the heart-shaped imprint of the impacts, produced by spraying.
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Re: LASCAUX -- MOVEMENT, SPACE, AND TIME

Postby admin » Sun Sep 13, 2015 12:10 am

ELEMENTARY MARKINGS AND INSTRUMENTS

The elementary marking, as we define it, is the smallest constituent of the figure. It is equivalent to each effect of the action of a tool on the wall, by deposition (pigment) or by removal of material (engraving). It may be in the form of a dot, a line or a surface. The multiplication and the ordered assembly of these units, but also their simultaneous employment, create signs, humans or animals. The graphic analysis involves breaking down the image into all the individual elements, and extending this to the figure as a whole.

The dot is obtained either by the projection of a spray of colouring matter on to a wall or by the deposition of pigment with the help of an instrument or a finger. Whether marked out singly or in interrupted groups, the dots define more or less regular lines or accumulations. In general, they form one of the principal characteristics of the signs.

Spraying has been used with the three techniques mentioned. It gives a diffuse edge to the dots. Experimentation shows that the projection of powdered pigment through a tubular instrument also stains the base of the wall or the ledge, which collect the particles rejected by the damp wall or projected with insufficient force. Traces of colour on the ridges at the edge of concavities are due to abrasion by the artist rather than residues of spraying. No residual traces potentially related to this work have been found on the ledges of the Hall of the Bulls or the Axial Gallery. It therefore seems that the material was used in solution rather than in a dry state.

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148 When repeated, these dots, created by several impacts of pulverized colouring material sprayed on the wall, reproduce very varied shapes, such as this 'curly bracket' sign on the panel of the Chinese Horses, Axial Gallery.

Studies conducted by Michel Lorblanchet, based on experimentation [42] and on experience gained among the Aboriginal Australian painters, suggested that colourants were sprayed with the mouth. [43] We have reproduced these actions [44] and analysed them, in particular by densitometry. The results obtained are similar; the only difference is that the projected particles have not diffused on to the interface, as they have in the cave (owing to the passage of time). If colourant is projected through a tube, the mark produced is denser and tighter than the effect obtained by releasing the pigments straight from the mouth without an instrument. The two dots in the Hall of the Bulls illustrate this technique - the red dot below the second bull, and the black dot within the forelimbs of the third bull. In alignment, these elementary forms sometimes boast remarkable organization, such as the line of units (ill. 147) and the 'curly bracket' (ill. 148) located on the right wall at the entrance to the Axial Gallery.

The second instrument used to create a dot shape is the swab, which produces an imprint with very clear edges (ill. 149). This technique requires more pigment than spraying because it needs a lower fluidity and consequently less dilution.

For the Palaeolithic artists, the line was technically the prolongation of the dot. It was obtained by juxtaposed and joined impacts, using the spraying technique or successive applications with a swab. The use of crayons made from blocks of colourant has yet to be proven, despite the presence of fragments of ochre or manganese on the archaeological floors which show traces of use associated with sharpening. The scratches on these objects suggest that they may have been used to draw the outlines or to preposition the figures.

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149 Group of dots, located above the Great Black Bull in the Hall of the Bulls. The pad, an instrument often used on the walls of Lascaux, leaves an imprint with very clear edges.

Several animal figures were executed by grouping sprayed dots, including the two Confronted Ibexes of the Axial Gallery (ill. 150). The same technique has been used for the different colours of the outlines, one black, the other yellow. The bulls of the Hall of the Bulls show a similar method, but this time the dots were made with a swab. The bridge of the nose, the horns, the withers and part of the upper line all demonstrate this technique (ill. 151). Two forms of instrument seem to have been used here, distinguishable by the diameter of their distal ends - 15 and 30 millimetres corresponding to the mean values of the respective imprints.

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150 Several animal figures were executed by spraying dots in groups, including this black ibex on the panel of the Falling Cow, Axial Gallery.

The continuous line - used for the signs (notably the barbed or quadrangular ones) and the structural lines of the animal figures (to emphasize the outline) - can be created with a brush or by spraying pigment. The former leaves a line with clear edges (ill. 152), while the latter produces a line that is slightly faded on either side.

The line of a brush derives from the friction of the instrument with the wall. The mark left depends on the fluidity of the product, the granularity of the surface and the speed of execution. Some outlines were produced in a thorough fashion, such as the curved lines of the backs of the equids; others result from a much more rapid action, such as the branching sign drawn to the left of the Upside-down Horse. In the latter case, only the irregularities of the wall (outgrowths of calcite) have held the colouring matter, giving this figure a dotted outline. This technique was used discretely in a number of places: in the Hall of the Bulls, notably for the stags grouped below the two great aurochs; in a more regular manner for the red cows and certain horses at the entrance to the Axial Gallery; and for the yellow heads drawn below the Great Black Bull.

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151 The head of the great bull in the Hall of the Bulls. This feature demonstrates how a line or an area can be realized by the juxtaposition of a series of small dots.

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152 The line may also be the result of a single stroke of a brush, exemplified by this hooked sign in the Hall of the Bulls.

Engraving belongs to the category of elementary techniques. It was applied to all the themes in different ways. In the majority of cases, the incision brings about the removal of the outer layer of the rock and generates a variation in colour. The result resembles a drawing - a pale line emerging from a darker background. Certain traits take the place of the structural lines of animals, a role otherwise reserved for colourants.

The painted figures of Lascaux were essentially sprayed, which allowed very large surfaces to be covered with a limited amount of material. Uniform hues were produced through the juxtaposition of sprayed impacts, placed densely enough to produce the illusion of a regular field of colour. Nevertheless, on many subjects it is possible to distinguish the punctuated units of the field, particularly on the red flank of the Red Cow with the Black Collar.

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153 Great Black Bull, Axial Gallery. The use of a stencil to delimit an area of colour implies a certain degree of mastery of the method. Seen at very high magnification, the edge often shows very great precision.

Spraying is the only procedure that enabled the artist to apply colourant to the walls of the small hollows, even in very marked cavities. At the base of the black mane of the Upside-down Horse, for example, there is a cavity 10 centimetres deep with an opening of only 2 centimetres, but the whole of the surface of this hollow is coloured. The pronounced granularity of the 'cauliflower' calcite encrustation necessitates a method of spraying with sufficient covering power that even the smallest holes, particularly the surfaces underlying the macro-topography, will be saturated with colour. To reduce the gaps in the covering, several angles of projection on to the same target are necessary. On some figures, the regularity of the distribution of materials, applied without visible interruption of their continuity, suggests that certain fields of colour may have resulted from spraying continuously or at least in long sequences.

In the absence of specific limitations, such as inaccessibility or the lack of space, applying colour to an animal outline by spraying pigment essentially followed the same procedure. Analysis of the direction of the projections of material reveals a pattern reproduced on many representations. Inside the area within reach, the movements of the artist remained limited. Most of the time, he maintained a central position relative to the subject. guiding the impacts of colourants from the middle to the periphery of the field. However, not all the subjects lent themselves to this method, and some needed to be adapted to the very localized physical limitations. In certain rare cases, there are dear gradations of colour - over more than 12 centimetres, for example, on the croup of the red cow on the right wall at the entrance to the Axial Gallery (ill. 69). This effect is often found at the edge of fields made without masking, such as the boundary of the twofold division of the coat of the second Chinese horse. In this case it is less important, between 5 and 15 millimetres wide.

The representation of a well-defined boundary, such as the chest or the dewlap of the bovines (ill. 153), necessitated the use of a cut-out stencil. Experimentation shows that the stencil had to be kept a few centimetres away from the wall, otherwise the colours would have stained the zone left blank. The transition between the two areas is then much more distinct. We see the precision of the technique in the outline of the Great Black Bull's head. Even when the transitional line of Lascaux's stencilled images is magnified, it retains its clarity, showing a perfect mastery of this skill. It is often difficult to identify the device used, although rare, slight irregularities have shown that Palaeolithic man sometimes used his hand as a stencil. (...)

The amount of material applied also depends on the colour used. Generally, one observes a lesser density of material for the red pigments than for the yellow or black ones. Haematite (a red or brown iron ore) is particularly effective at covering surfaces, which may partly account for this disparity.

COMPOUND AND POLYCHROME TRACES

The graphic techniques employed at Lascaux are based on painting, drawing and engraving. The clear technological diversity derives from a combination of the three. They can be used independently or in pairs, and in some very rare instances they are all used together.

With the exception of certain figures in the Apse, it is relatively easy to differentiate between the different techniques. Corrosion, which affects painted surfaces more than their engraved counterparts, sometimes makes it difficult to judge the exact state of the works and distinguish between very degraded painted and engraved figures and those that have been primarily engraved. In certain cases, this becomes possible when incised outlines cut into fields of colour belonging to older figures within the tangle of motifs. Like the elementary forms, the distribution of composite markings depends closely on the mechanical properties of the supports and this applies equally to both the drawn and the engraved parts. This is why the same anatomical feature can be depicted in different ways depending on its location in the cave: hence, for the neck and body of an animal, the structural lines will be fashioned with a brush in the first sector (the Hall of the Bulls and the Axial Gallery) and by engraving in the other parts of the sanctuary.

Technological choices can indeed depend on factors such as the architecture of the surroundings, the topographical connection of the galleries or the chosen procedure. Nevertheless, it would be imprudent to attribute some value or other to a particular graphic idiom and then establish a hierarchy between them. It seems that, quite apart from their dimensions and the reproduced themes, the symbolic power of a painting is identical to that of a drawing or an engraving.

This interpretation would no doubt be supported better if based on the execution or the degree of accomplishment of the figures, which is cruder in the depths of the cave some figures in the Chamber of the Felines, for example. A horse and a bison at the far end of the Axial Gallery, at the level of the Red Panel, ate also less accomplished than their counterparts in other locations.

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154 Together with Font-de-Gaume, Lascaux is one of the few French caves to have been decorated with polychromatic figures. Nonetheless, the use of several colours was without doubt not essential to the creative process, as is shown by this discrete sketch of a horse, Hall of the Bulls.

The same questions can be asked of colour, indeed of the associations of colours, which at Lascaux play an exceptional role, increased as much by the qualities of the support, with its very high reflective powers, as by the richness of the palette of pigments and the combinations employed. What is popularly described as polychrome is here limited to bi- and trichrome (ill. 154). The composition of colour is subject to variations of three components: colour, saturation and luminosity. [45] In other words, the polychrome effect is not limited to a juxtaposition of fields of colour or lines of distinct colours, but is a result of different colours, saturation and luminosity. It is only with this proviso that Lascaux paintings can be described as polychromatic.

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155 Densitometrical curves taken on dots created by spraying (a), using a pad (b) and using a pad under rotation (c).

Mastery of several graphic techniques allowed Palaeolithic man to create bichrome figures using a single block of pigment. Several animals were reproduced in this way, most notably the four red cows at the entrance to the Axial Gallery, but also the first two elements of the frieze of the Small Horses. Drawing the outline of these figures required a greater amount of material for an equivalent surface than that needed for the sprayed field of colour coveting the body. This change of technique brought with it a variation in the chromatic density, which is higher for the peripheral line than the filling.

There are numerous examples of bichrome painting in the Hall of the Bulls and the Axial Gallery, as well as from the Passageway to the Chamber of the Felines. Of the 93 animals depicted in the first two halls, 24 are drawn. 20 are monochrome paintings, 35 are bichrome and 14 trichrome. There seems to be a connection between, on the one hand, the theme represented and, on the other, the technique and colours used. Black drawings are associated with the bulls more than the cows, which are mainly painted in red. Black is also used more in the Hall of the Bulls than in the Axial Gallery, which has warmer colours.

These technical combinations have been studied, above all, in the context of the brown horse of the locality of the Upside-down Horse, which assembles practically all of the techniques linked to painting. Painted in two colours (black and yellow), using two techniques (the brush and spraying), this figure has most of the anatomical details associated with the parietal bestiary, except for the eye, which is often absent on the depictions of horses and cows at Lascaux. [46]

Variations in the density of the colours depend on the dilution of the colourants and their mode of application. Diluting a pigment does not weaken the original colour, but distributes the elements of the pigment in a different way. It is possible to identify the degree of dispersion by using a binocular: the further away the particles of matter are from each other, the higher the reflection of the original colour, and vice versa.

Densitometrical sections of the markings (tail, dorsal line and mane) allow us to estimate the distribution of the particles and the concentration of the products (ill. 155). This is at its greatest in the tail. The gradients of the curve at both sides of the mark are steep, which indicates a very high concentration and the use of a brush coated with a relatively plastic paint. In contrast, the mane was sprayed with a very diluted pigment. The curve shows a significant dispersion of the particles of matter. The dorsal line is intermediate. The dispersion of pigments is limited, but it does exist, caused by a dilution of the paint.

This succession of operations shows a desire to structure forms, and prompts the question of whether the figures were pre-positioned or not. As for the other horses of the cave, so far we have been unable to find any evidence of pre-positioning, with one exception: the second Chinese horse. Some corrections in the first third of the Axial Gallery show the absence of true preliminary sketches, which is backed up by the observation that there is no underlying line when the definitive line is broken.
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Re: LASCAUX -- MOVEMENT, SPACE, AND TIME

Postby admin » Sun Sep 13, 2015 12:13 am

DISTRIBUTION OF TECHNIQUES

There is a particular distribution of the graphic techniques at Lascaux, closely linked to the nature and mechanical properties of the support. The carbonate covering is found practically everywhere on the walls of the Hall of the Bulls and the Axial Gallery, but it is very patchy in the Passageway and nonexistent in the galleries. The very hard and coarse-grained encrustation of the first two sectors is succeeded by a softer surface, which is slightly ochreous and fine grained in the Passageway and the Apse, and friable in the Nave and the Chambef of the Felines.

The analysis of the tock wall permitted the separation of eight types of support, showing appreciable differences of structure and, above all surface appearance. Almost all of the works are distributed on three formations of this sequence. The properties of these surfaces are very distinct from each other, and this heterogeneity has generated specific graphic techniques. The three formations, of unequal topographic significance, are ordered without interruption from the Hall of the Bulls to the Chamber of the Felines.

The Hall of the Bulls and the Axial Gallery form the first group. The walls of these two spaces are characterized by a white calcite covering with high reflective powers, which is very hard and consists of relatively coarse grains, from 5 to 20 millimetres in diameter. These features dictated the choice of technique: essentially painting (ill. 156) and drawing, methods involving the addition of material. Scrape marks, a few millimetres wide, are the only traces of removal of material. They are scars left behind after calcite efflorescences (shallow growths) were removed from the walls, and their number is limited. Two lines frame the articulation of the right knee of the third bull in order to separate it from the black field of colour on the flank of the equid located in front. In effect, this gesture shows more similarity with a reserve left uncoloured than with a structural outline. Other indeterminate marks, executed in a similar way, are found on the flank of the Red Cow with the Black Collar on the facing wall.

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156 Head and neck of the brown horse, left wall, Hall of the Bulls. The nostrils and the lower lip were outlined using a brush.

The Passageway, the Apse, the Nave and the Chamber of the Felines represent the second group. The very delicate walls have been subjected to significant corrosion, leading to the destabilization of elements of the rock face, the carbonate matrix, fossils and grains of silica. These changes made the support less resistant to material alteration and, more specifically, to engraving. This friability also ruled out the application of any pigment by pad or brush: this action would have removed part of the outer mineral layer, thus preventing any deposition of colour. The figures present in this enormous group bear witness to these constraints. The brush was abandoned in favour of spraying and engraving (to structure the outlines), and tools involving rubbing were abolished.

The last formation examined includes the Shaft and the diptych of the Crossed Bison. These two panels are located well away from each other, but they belong to the same stratum. Over a surface limited to the lower level of the Great Fissure, on the one hand, and the Nave, on the other, the ochreous wall is covered with a film of transparent calcite. This has hardened the surface. In this place only, painting and drawing were undertaken, but no trace of engraving has been found. Analysis of painted or drawn markings shows a certain homogeneity in the techniques, with local variations caused by the animal themes, the nature of the support, the conditions of access to the walls and, in certain examples, the integration of the contours of the natural relief.

CONSTRUCTION OF THE FIGURES

For each animal species, one or more anatomical sections enable us to identify the figures: the horns for the ibex, the antlers for the cervids, the head and the horns for the aurochs, and the upper line (from the neck to the croup) for the horses. When we first visit a decorated site, these are the elements that primarily attract our attention. Evidently the same was true of Palaeolithic man, as the study of certain friezes shows, particularly the heads such as the Swimming Stags on the right wall of the Nave. Friezes of heads only relate to those animals with horns or antlers. The horses are excluded from this, and their heads are always isolated. This difference underlines Palaeolithic man's special interest in this part of the body. In the majority of cases the outline of the head is limited to the bridge of the nose, with an indistinct mark simulating the cheek, the muzzle and the lower line. (... )

Analysis of the construction of figures reveals variations that could be linked to the themes evoked, the dimensions of the work and the morphology of the support. The study of the horses, the most prevalent theme at Lascaux, was particularly comprehensive. For example, by studying certain representations, it is possible to recognize three stages in the construction of a horse's head. One figure, in front of the yellow stag on the left wall of the Hall of the Bulls, represents the first stage. It has an arched oblong patch (the mane), created by spraying, followed by two patches (neck markings) of the same colour (ill. 157). Some 80 centimetres to the left, the same motif is repeated on another horse, this time with the addition of the poll and the bridge of the nose (ill. 158). You have to pass the frieze of the black horses and the Unicorn before you find a comparable figure (ill. 159), bur here the lines of the forehead and the back are joined by the muzzle, the throat latch and the line of the throat. (... )

The construction of complete representations of horses shows many similarities with the reduced form (the head). The three Chinese horses and their counterparts on the facing wall support these observations, as do those of the locality. The use of pigments of similar colour to construct the outline and fill in the black horses of the Hall of the Bulls made it difficult to achieve a precise diagnosis. The horses of the Axial Gallery, with distinguished anatomical sectors, made a contribution to this element.

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157 This elongated black mark and the two dots located below it on the left wall of the Hall of the Bulls represent the mane and the two neck markings of an equid respectively.

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158 Scarcely more accomplished than the preceding figure of a horse, this second partial image of an equid, also on the left wall of the Hall of the Bulls, features the bridge of the nose and the beginning of the line of the back, as well as the mane and the two neck markings.

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159 Here, the lower line is added to the upper and frontal segments to give the complete image of the head of a horse, left wall, Hall of the Bulls.

The representation of a horse involved three stages. First, the artist would depict the mane and the underlying dots, a group rendered by a series of fields of black colour (ill. 160). Then, the shape of the body and the neck were painted. Finally, the artist structured the fields of colour, the upper and lower lines, the fore- and hindlimbs and the outlines of the head and the tail. This sequence is identical for all of the representations of horses analysed. The clear variations in the appearance of the structural features are linked to the granularity of the wall. With unduly large elements (greater than 5 millimetres) and large figurative segments (above a decimetre) the brush was abandoned in favour of spraying. The dorsal line and the outlines of the four limbs of the yellow horse of the locality, for example, were created with a stencil, but the brush was used for the short lines, such as those of the nostrils and the tail.

In the engraved and painted sector of the Nave, the same succession of actions is found over and over again, except in the peripheral lines, which were traced by engraving rather than the application of a colouring agent (ill. 161). However, whereas no traces of pre-positioning were discovered in the first sector, in the second part (notably the Nave) there are very fine engraved lines on several figures which were made before the flank and the neck were painted.

The panel of the Falling Cow is remarkable for the sheer number of subjects of modest size, particularly in the frieze of the Small Horses. The surface upon which they were painted has fairly coarse grains, measuring between 8 and 15 millimetres in diameter. These two features - one dimensional, the other related to texture led to the use of a single technique: spraying. The second horse is the only exception, as the tip of its nose and lower lip were emphasized with a fine brush. Three of the sprayed horses have neither structural lines nor any trace of detail.

Beyond the accessible area, within which most horses are located, other forms of construction were used. As the size of the field increases, so too does the optical role of the morphology of the background. One example is the aurochs of the Hall of the Bulls. It is important to remember that their huge dimensions take some parts of the body well beyond arm's reach. Furthermore, the wall here follows an overhang at a mean angle of 60º to the vertical, with a reversion in its lower part. As the artist projected his mental image on to the wall, a scatter of dots were used to mark out the position of the ends of the extremities and later the feet, the horns and the tail, as well as the hollow of the back and the line of the belly. Certain unobtrusive marks might belong to this first phase, but others seem to have been swallowed up in the fields of colour added in the final phase.

The granularity and the micro-porosity of the support, together with the mineral nature of the pigments, demanded a confident motion for the reproduction of the figures. Effectively, each impact of colour on the wall and each removal of material was indelible, however unobtrusive they might be. Every attempt at removing a line or a dot would have left an imprint. Despite this and the very high number of animal figurations recorded, the number of corrections identified is extremely limited. Imperfections could he identified at the entrance to the Axial Gallery on the four female aurochs.

[img]http://rapeutation.com/lascauxnor.1a181_small.gif[/img]

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160 The creation of the horse: (a) line of the mane and the bridge of the nose, (b) sketched outline, (c) the field of yellow colour of the body and neck, adding structure to the form by drawing the body outline, the limbs and tail (d).

The difficulties in the execution of these figures are related to their impressive dimensions and the particularly difficult shape of the passage. Each figure extends partly over the sub-vertical wall and partly on to the beginning of the overhanging roof. The corrections are always present in the topline, apart from the cow on the underside of the vault, in which they are restricted to the forelimbs (ill. 162).

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161 Painted and engraved horse within the forelimbs of the Great Black Cow, Nave.

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162 The techniques and materials used for painting or engraving are unforgiving of mistakes. Nonetheless, corrections are the exception. The revision of the forelimb of this red cow in the Axial Gallery shows the difficulties encountered during the execution of this very large figure in a space with a very uneven structure.
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Re: LASCAUX -- MOVEMENT, SPACE, AND TIME

Postby admin » Sun Sep 13, 2015 12:16 am

PERSPECTIVE

It is very difficult to capture the three-dimensional elements around us, animated or static, on a two-dimensional plane, and the transcription of a volume on to a surface implies a certain amount of abstraction, the anticipation of gestures, and a study of the graphic substitutes capable of recreating the illusion of depth.

Palaeolithic man could not avoid this rule, as the paintings at Lascaux show. The suggestion of depth takes place at various levels. You encounter it in the smallest anatomical details and in the entirety of the subject, as well as the allocation of the different figures that enter into the composition of the panel.

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163 The limbs in the background of the third Chinese horse, Axial Gallery, are not graphically joined to the body. The space left blank permits a three-dimensional view of the subject due to the better differentiation between the legs.

Henri Breuil defined three modes of perspective: twisted, semi-twisted and normal. Andre Leroi-Gourhan added the absolute profile: when the body of the subject is represented in profile and, of the paired organs (legs, ears, horns or tusks), only the one in the foreground is indicated.

In the twisted, or straight bi-angular perspective as Leroi-Gourhan called it, the subject is seen alternately from the front and in profile, allowing it to be represented in an explicit manner. The body is seen in profile, but the paired elements undergo a rotation through 90°. The archetype of this is the bison of the cave of La Greze (Dordogne). The semi-twisted or oblique bi-angular perspective is expressed by a rotation of the paired elements through 45° relative to the body. The hooves of the cervids or the bovines are seen in a three-quarter perspective, thereby preserving their cloven character. The same is true for the antlers and the horns. With very rare exceptions, all the animal figures of Lascaux would fall into this category, reinforcing the coherence of the whole.

The treatment of anatomical elements in the background by use of a reserve (or a blank) is another convention that creates the illusion of depth. In this mode, a patch of lighter shading or an uncoloured space is left between two segments, usually in contact or superimposed. In this way, from the observer's perspective, two planes located at different depths will be separated. The method is used above all in the depiction of the background fore- and hindlimbs (ill. 163): their articulation is not joined to the body, which distinguishes them from the limbs in the foreground. More rarely, this technique exists when the limbs in the foreground carry out a particular movement, such as in the representation of the Falling Cow. The general lines of this animal form a trapezoid, due to the twisting movement given to the body. The hindlimbs are flattened against the abdomen, the one on the right following the outer edge, the one on the left drawn along the flank. The course of the left hind leg, in an identical colour to the hide, is surrounded by a blank, allowing it to be distinguished from the black surface of the flank.

Other expressions of perspective have been recognized. They can perhaps be evoked by the single diptych of the Crossed Bison, which bears testament to Palaeolithic man's skill in a number of ways. This final painted panel of the Nave contains only two figures, both male bovines. We have seen that they are two bison moving away from each other symmetrically. However, they are not totally separated because the respective outlines are superimposed at the level of the croups. The artist needed to show the perspective and the movement of the two animals simultaneously. He used a reserve on the fore- and hindlimbs of each bison, and the same technique during the application of the fields of colour, at the height of the croups (ill. 164), marking the boundary between these two surfaces with a white fringe. This space is, on average, 20 millimetres wide and emphasizes the separation between the two masses, following the curve made by the thigh of the bison on the left and detaching it clearly from the black field of the bison on the right. The edges of this reserve are not identical: the left border, corresponding to the external outline of the croup, is clear; the other is a fading black, so that the transition with the second figure is less abrupt.

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164 The dissociation of the two silhouettes of bison in the diptych of the Crossed Bison, Nave, is intensified by leaving a blank space at the level of the croup.

The hooves of the forequarters of the Crossed Bison (ill. 165) are also better formed than those located at the rear. While the hooves in the foreground display their cloven character. those behind are basic outlines. (... ) In the wild, the bison looks massive, with short limbs at the front. There is a clear disproportion in their bulk, and the forequarters look enlarged in comparison with the finer lines of the hindquarters. On the wall, the different representations of the fore- and hindquarters is far more striking. Defining a point at the centre of the picture from which all the elements of the image diverge, the artist increases the impression of flight and movement, thus stressing the characteristic might of these animals.

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165 Depth is restored in the diptych of the Crossed Bison, Nave, by a deliberate weakening of the anatomical details. For the rendition of this perspective, the hooves of the hindlimbs are shown much more summarily than those of the forelimbs. Their cloven character, in particular, is unclear.

The choice of the wall was not left to chance. In order to increase the effects, the artist needed to select a surface with the geometry of a very open interfacial angle, then to paint a bison on each of the planes. Furthermore, the interface is not vertical but slopes forwards. The resulting overhang creates the illusion that the bison are plunging towards the observer and gives the impression of accelerated movement.

Other less conspicuous procedures demonstrate an uncontested mastery of motion and perspective, such as corrections to the dorsal line of the Red Cow with the Black Collar. They highlight the difficulties of implementation, undoubtedly linked to the 'keyhole' cross section of the gallery and to their topographic situation. A study of traces of metallic oxides at the base of the tunnel showed that the level of the floor has changed little since the time of Palaeolithic man. When the fresco was painted, the ceiling height must therefore have exceeded 3.5 metres. Some form of structure was essential to gain access to the upper level of the wall and to the ceiling: the installation of wooden scaffolding.

The line of the back of the Red Cow with the Black Collar is overlain by a continuous line, from the withers to the pelvis. This line changes direction: it starts to mark out the curve of the croup several decimetres in front of the definitive line. This hesitation indicates that the artist realized that his very elevated position would produce a geometric distortion of the image once it was viewed from the floor. In this part of the gallery, the left wall forms an interface along a horizontal axis. The lower level is located on the vertical part of the wall, the upper one at the beginning of the depressed arch of the ceiling. The configuration of the support prompted the artist to position part of the cow's body on the vertical section and the other on the underside of the ceiling, with the line of the interface passing through the central part of the chest and the thigh. From the scaffolding, this rotation of the plane would give a horizontally dilated form to the figure (ill. 166), but for a visitor standing on the ground the proportions of the animal would be correct (ill. 167). This is a true example of anamorphosis. Only by means of this artifice could the artist surmount the obstacle of this particular section of the gallery. [47]

Anamorphosis is also found in the fourth bull of the Hall of the Bulls (ill. 168). The distortion is caused by the proximity of the panel to the entrance to the Axial Gallery. At the boundary between the two, the front part of the aurochs, notably its forelimbs, has been traced in the beginning of the gallery. The aurochs's forelimbs are almost 30 per cent longer than those of the other two similar-sized aurochs surrounding it (ill. 169). The distortion was produced deliberately so that, from the centre of the Hall of the Bulls, the outlines of the animal preserve proportions similar to those of the other two bovines. The extension of the gallery creates an optical illusion - a phenomenon compensated by the more advanced position of the forelimbs in the direction of the back of the tunnel, formed by the prolongation of the Hall of the Bulls. Moreover, as a result of this particular topography, the space between the right and left forelimbs and hooves of the same animal was accentuated in order to correct the optical compression of the figures.

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166 The angle of observation immediately next to the subject, the position occupied by the painter, provides an anamorphic image of the Red Cow with the Black Collar, Axial Gallery.

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167 To the observer on the floor, however, this image of the Red Cow with the Black Collar does not look distorted.

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168 Standing at the centre of the Hall of the Bulls, you get a true perspective of the forelimbs of the fourth great aurochs.

The graphic translation of the third dimension is not only applied to individuals but also to the animal figures assembled at the heart of the same composition, when the subjects form part of a single theme. This presupposes that the location of each of the elements of the group had been defined before it was executed. Two groups capture our attention: the frieze of the Small Stags in the Hall of the Bulls and the group of horses painted in front of the Falling Cow in the Axial Gallery. The frieze of the Small Stags is located at the base of the panel, between the second and the third bull of the left wall (ill. 170). This group comprises five individuals, all facing the entrance of the cave. The composition has a pentagonal form, implying that the figures were nor all painted at the same ground level bur on three. The yellow stag in the foreground possesses all of the attributes specific to the species. The artist has displayed great precision, both in the realization of the figure in general and in the rendition of the slightest anatomical details, such as the eye, the hooves or the tail. The animal is painted in yellow and black with two different techniques, showing the high level of accomplishment of the work. Certain pans of the body of the animals in the second plane are simplified. The croup of the stag on the left is not drawn, with a concavity in the wall acting as a substitute for the hindquarters. The right-hand stag no longer has a head, while its croup and hindlimbs disappear in the field of black colour covering the chest and forelimbs of the second bull, which was already in place. The subjects on the third level are limited.

The headless stag on the left has an incomplete body and antlers, suggested by the scars of natural flaking on the wall, while the stag on the right only has its black antlers, linked to another scar (which may simulate the outlines of the body). Although atmospheric factors may have played a part in the staggered deterioration of the stags. these observations indicate that they may have been constructed differently according to their position in order to render perspective, a progressive alteration of the representations from the base (the most complete in terms of anatomical details) to the upper part of the panel (the most incomplete).

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169 The deliberate deformation of the forelimbs of the fourth bull can only be perceived when the observation angle is perpendicular to the figure, at the entrance to the Axial Gallery. This transformation of the image is a record of genuine anamorphosis.

The second example concerns the group of horses located below and in front of the Falling Cow (ill. 171). The panel, containing four painted figures, is of smaller dimensions than the preceding group. The same observations apply here too. The horse in the foreground has a lot of anatomical details. Despite an increased roughness of the wall and a miniaturization of the subject, this animal preserves the totality of its outline. The care taken is such that even the muzzle, with the lower lip and the nostrils, is emphasized. Furthermore, the indications of seasonality are rendered by a series of parallel lines at the base of the neck and the flank. With the female aurochs, this is the most accomplished figure of the panel. The second level shows the silhouette of a horse without a structural outline. The four hooves are realized by the same number of dots. Beyond this, at the top of the panel, there are two oblong marks, one yellow, the other orange. Each very approximately reproduces the head, the neck and the back of a horse. Not only does this second example of group perspective show that the animals have fewer anatomical details the further away they are from the observer, but also that the four horses decrease in size, which is a very rare feature.

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170 When the subjects of a monothematic composition -- such as the frieze of the Small Stags in the Hall of the Bulls, above -- are not aligned in the same horizontal plane, their positioning sometimes resembles a view that is both atmospheric and staggered. The subject closest to the floor is very detailed; the others have increasingly simple outlines.

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171 A second example of combined perspectives is shown by this group of horses located in front of the Falling Cow, Axial Gallery.

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172 This horse in the panel of the Hemione, Axial Gallery, provides us with an extreme example of the involvement of the background relief in the lines of the animal. The interpretation of the lines of the head, the neck, the back, the croup and the tail makes use of natural elements. Only the lower part of the neck was painted.
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Re: LASCAUX -- MOVEMENT, SPACE, AND TIME

Postby admin » Sun Sep 13, 2015 12:19 am

Contribution of the Support

From a very early stage, studies of parietal art drew attention to the particular treatment of certain figures, which ostensibly look rough but are in fact completed by the integration of the natural relief or unevenness of the rock, the shapes of which suggest the missing parts of the body. [48] In many caves, there is a lot of potential for natural forms to be transformed into animal or human representations, but the number of figures constructed in this way remains limited. While the direct participation of the wall in an outline is marginal, it may play a major role under certain circumstances. This use of the natural surroundings can occur on various scales, from taking into account a single contour that evokes a simple anatomical form, to including the multiple forms of galleries or halls, which then determine the construction of pictorial compositions.

Lascaux's lack of classic concretions, such as stalactites, flows or curtains, may partially explain the limited number of examples observed. Indeed, concretions only rarely take on large enough dimensions for the realization of animals and are often limited to a simple encrustation a few millimetres thick. Furthermore, the rock often does not have an accentuated relief or pronounced fissures. Only the scars of flakes along the junctions of strata attracted Palaeolithic man's attention.

The wall and its contours could be used in a number of ways: as a simple component in a work, as the substitute for one or another of its elements or even to suggest a guideline to the artist. The natural component brings a supplementary dimension to the interpretation of the relief. The eye of the yellow stag (frieze of the Small Stags, Hall of the Bulls) is one example, created from a calcite growth some fifteen millimetres in diameter (ill. 173).

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173 The involvement of the background relief can affect only a single anatomical part, as in the case of the yellow stag (the frieze of the Small Stags, Hall of the Bulls), in which the eye is replaced by a calcite growth.

The use of the contours of the wall as a guideline is the most widespread procedure. Palaeolithic man used this method in the Hall of the Bulls, on the yellow stag. The stag's bez tines and forehead follow the ridge of a concavity, projecting the image of the animal into the foreground. This hollow formation is also used to give form to the hindquarters of the red stag immediately in front. The brown horse above the frieze of the Small Stags has the same characteristics. Only its head, neck and back have been drawn, and the arc formed by the upper line follows the natural curve created by the exfoliation of the support. Nonetheless, the structural line of this animal only partly follows the discontinuity, over a few decimetres. The way in which the bend radius of the edge of the flake increases towards the front of the horse clearly did not suit the artist. It would have required moving the head and neck too close to the upper edge of the panel, or indeed crossing its limits.

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174 The line of the ground, shown by a deep natural ledge on the wall, falls back behind the forelimbs of this horse in the panel of the Great Black Bull, Axial Gallery, suggesting that the animal is falling.

Sometimes a relief is substituted for a marking in order to represent an important surface of the subject. In this case the outlines obtained for the animal tend to merge with those of the peripheral contours (ill. 172). The horse above the Hemione contains only a single painted element, a very elongated yellow patch, inclined at 40º, which maintains a constant width over the first 30 centimetres, then flares into a sub-triangular shape. The interpretation of the figure is simplified by the proximity of a field of colour, in form analogous to that which traces the lower line of the neck of the Hemione. The painting technique is identical, in the treatment and the placement of the stencil and in the orientation and inclination of the drawing. The upper line of the panel, which is highlighted by lateral lighting, allows us to understand the work because it sketches the neck, the line of the back and the croup without interruption. Furthermote, the specific morphology of the wall suggests the presence of the tail and the beginning of a hindlimb. Two cervids in the frieze of the Small Stags were constructed using the same principle. They have anatomical parts borrowed from the negatives of flakes, the head and the antlers for the stag on the left, the entire body, neck and head for the one on the tight. This suppresses the subject, projecting it into the second plane.

On the smaller surfaces, from a few centimetres to a metre, the association of markings and the forms of the wall sometimes evokes the line of the ground. This occurs repeatedly at Lascaux (Hall of the Bulls, the panel of the Great Black Cow in the Nave, the Great Black Bull in the Axial Gallery). The line of the ground is here formed by a stratigraphic discontinuity, followed underneath by a reversion of the wall to the front. This so-called exogenous formation, in the sense that it does not participate directly in the outline of the animal figure, plays a role only in the positioning of the figures.

Careful observation allowed us to recognize other, admittedly less obvious, applications of this principle, the primary function of which is to accompany the animation given to certain figures. These examples are located in the same place, around the Upside-down Horse. At the left of this panel and at the beginning of the locality the Galloping Horse is seen behind the Great Black Bull (ill. 174). Its limbs, at their maximum extension, do not all rest on a horizontal line; only the hindlimbs test on a discontinuity of the surface, that is on a deep incision bordered at its base by a ridge of the wall. This fissure, which begins 50 centimetres behind the animal, is interrupted below the chest, while the two forelimbs extend beyond it. The slight inclination of the horse towards the front, around 15°, suggests the beginning of a falling motion, an impression confirmed by the very localized absence of the line of the ground beneath the front part of the animal.

The Falling Cow is on the facing wall, dominating a long procession of small horses. It has many similarities with the previous subject: the use of the same colours, the very precise reproduction of the outlines, the care taken over numerous details and the similar animation, all of which allow the two works to be attributed to the same artist. The twisting motion given to the hindquarters of the bovine and the position of the hindlimbs, gathered up under the belly, show that the cow is falling. The raised head, with the forehead painted horizontally as an extension of the line of the back, reinforces the suggestion of instability. This cow is partly twisted into the hollow of a large horizontal depression, the lower edge of which follows the contours of the croup, the belly and the chest. The outstretched forelimbs extend beyond this hollow to simulate the absence of the ground. These examples show the use of natural forms for an identical goal, but a hollow was used for the horse and a projection for the aurochs.

The third example is the Upside-down Horse (ill. 175), whose fall is indicated by the vertical orientation of the body. The line of the back and the croup follow a projection of the wall over a double gradient forwards and to the right. The animal was painted in the convex part of a meander, which is a distinctive feature given the generally straight alignment of the gallery. The base of this false buttress lies 40 centimetres above the floor of the gallery. The relief has been used in two ways: to accompany the line of the back and to suggest emptiness through the marked discontinuity at the base of the panel.

The narrowing of the gallery at the threshold makes the morphology of the entrance to the locality of the Upside- own Horse look like a gaping chasm. This constriction is marked on both sides by broad red stains. The topography of the location places the Upside-down Horse close to the two above-mentioned figures to each side of the gallery on the final panels before the locality. These three works, located within a limited area, are commonly treated separately, because they are on different panels. However, several arguments suggest that they are related: they show the same animation, and the morphologically different but functionally identical natural elements were taken into account. Such commonalities enable us to envisage real connections between these three animals.

In the course of this relative study of the use of the wall, it is important to remember the role played by natural elements in the representation of the third dimension. Thus, a natural concavity may, under certain angles of illumination, paradoxically evoke a convexity suitable for the outline of the flank of an equid or a bovine. The outlines of the Red Cow with the Black Collar, for example, are associated with elements of the relief: the belly lies in a very large concavity, which is brought out by oblique lighting. The outlines of the croup and the hindlimbs of the red stag between the first bull and the black and yellow cervid in the Hall of the Bulls are simulated by an oblong concavity that prolongs the silhouette.

The wall support is also an important influence on the structuration of the panels, nor only on the individual animals but, in most cases, the graphic compositions as a whole. From this point of view, it forms one of the major constituents of the art of Lascaux and plays a fundamental role in the spatial organization of the works. To some extent, the structure and the type of available surfaces have dictated the structure of the panels without influencing their themes or their composition. Certain morphological or chromatic variations of the walls, or indeed the two combined, playa decisive role.

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175 The false pillar, around which is wound the figure of the Upside-down Horse, Axial Gallery, is not attached to the floor. The void suggested by this feature contributes to the falling motion of this figure.

The heterogeneity of the different stratigraphic units of the wall generates specific patterns in the sections of the galleries. These are caused by differences in the hardness of the rock and the ways in which the cave was cut. As a result, there are ridges, faults, platforms and recesses all over the walls. The horizontality of the strata creates regular and unbroken forms within the same space. They can also lead to architectural similarities between one hall and the next, such as those observed in the Hall of the Bulls, the Apse and the Nave. The most appropriate surfaces and levels are exploited. Equally, the lines marking the transition between these geological formations will be perceived as lines of structure. Their forms are generally ridges, due to the juxtaposition of concavities or the superimposition of layers. Examples of lines created on the basis of localized concretions are rare. This participation of the support can be reinforced by changes in its colour. The decorated band of the Hall of the Bulls extends between a ridge running along the top and a projecting formation below. This change of level is accentuated by a difference in colour which develops from a slightly stained white to a very pronounced brown.

Access to the Walls

Opening the site to the public necessitated modifications to the underground space. The floors were heavily altered. Mounds of clay covering the bottom of the ledges in the Hall of the Bulls were removed, at the same time increasing the distance to the parietal works. It was the same in the Passageway, which was originally very low. Today, a trench more than 1 metre deep and 2 metres wide impinges on the centre of this gallery. Beyond this, the front part of the Apse and, to a lesser extent, the back of this hall were emptied, in order to facilitate access to the Shaft. The Nave suffered an identical fate in order to give the passage a less pronounced slope. These modifications made it more difficult to access some of the walls, particularly where Palaeolithic man had resorted to the use of scaffolding in the first place.

These problems of access were not encountered in the Passageway, the Shaft or the Chamber of the Felines, where the decorated surfaces are all located less than 1.5 metres from the floor. In the Apse, however, some of the engraved and painted figures are quite some distance from the observer. After the discovery, as we have mentioned, the floor was lowered between 1 and 1.5 metres over the entire area of the hall. Before the alterations, almost all the works were therefore within arm's reach. Only the large stag located below the intersection and the figures of the vault required extra equipment in order to gain access. In the Nave, the artists profited from the proximity of the wall in the case of three panels, the Ibexes, the Imprint and the Crossed Bison. Between the latter two compositions would be inserted that of the Great Black Cow, with its long procession of horses extending over 7 metres. Between the two ends, the floor level drops significantly. A horizontal shelf underlines this panel, a platform of irregular width, ranging from 50 centimetres at the near and far ends to 1 metre in the centre. The three-dimensional nature and the scale of this long fresco showed us that the artist stood on this narrow edge without the use of scaffolding in order to execute all the figures. On the facing wall, only the frieze of the Swimming Stags was drawn. This group of aligned figures noticeably follows the slope of the floor. Here and there, short, more or less sloping ledges give purchase, a particular feature of this wall that enabled the artist to dispense with any form of structure. In the same space there are long incised lines at the base of the domes of the ceiling, at an inaccessible level. We have not been able to discern any shape in this lattice of lines. The inaccessibility of these surfaces and the random nature of the marks make us think they were drawn with the help of sticks held at arm's length, as the rock is soft enough here to be marked without too much pressure.

These problems of access have been discussed since the first studies of Lascaux, and the placement of the painted figures on the underside of the ceilings of the Hall of the Bulls and the Axial Gallery has been the subject of numerous investigations. Andre Glory [49] provided the first answers, claiming to have 'identified, on the sides of the Axial Gallery, the stalagmite encrusted placement of interlocked beams which were used in the painting of the Great Black Bull'. However, the calcification of the clay deposits occurred much earlier than the passage of man. This is demonstrated by the markings painted on top of these formations, in particular the hooves of the Great Black Bull or those of the aurochs of the Hall of the Bulls. If the carbonates had been deposited later than the markings, the paintings would have shown this. The identification of imprints of the ends of beams in certain cavities or on ledges was a result of a poorly argued hypothesis.

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176 The outlines of the fifth bull of the Hall of the Bulls have been executed using two techniques: the front parts were sprayed with pulverized pigment, while a brush was used for the less accessible segments. The entrance to the Passageway opens beneath the hindlimbs.

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177 At the height of the line of the belly of the fifth bull in the Hall of the Bulls, the transition marking the change of technique is immediate.

On the other hand, the excavations carried out by Glory did bring to light many fragments of charcoal, distributed in all the archaeological layers (end of the Axial Gallery, the Shaft and the Passageway). The identification of the wood revealed the presence of deciduous oak. and juniper and, in smaller proportions, pine, birch, alder and hazel. Most of the fragments had narrow tree rings, particularly those of juniper, some pieces of which were recovered from the lamps where they functioned as a wick. On the other hand, the oak and the pine had growth rings with a greater radius of curvature, showing that wooden elements with larger diameters were brought into the cave, possibly to construct equipment with which to access the walls, but also to feed the hearths used for lighting.

Claude Barriere and Ali Sahly conducted many studies on this subject. [50] In the Axial Gallery they noted the presence of a series of small cavities and ledges, spaced more or less regularly and located on both sides of the gallery, at the height of the lower level, which might have served as scaffolding holes. Furthermore, they recorded imprints of timber on the argillaceous ledge underlying the frieze of the Small Horses of the panel of the Falling Cow, possibly showing the use of such wooden structures.

In fact, the hypothesis that scaffolding was used in this gallery cannot be dismissed. In the first third of the Axial Gallery, the absence of ledges on which Palaeolithic people could have climbed in order to reach an adequate height implies the positioning of such constructions, since here the painted works are located between 3 and 4 metres above the ancient floor. In the publication directed by Arlette Leroi-Gourhan and Jacques Allain, a chapter is dedicated to this theme. [51] The authors discuss the same observations, extending the principle to the entire Axial Gallery, despite the absence of relevant evidence. Although it appears quite possible that scaffolding was used, this does not mean that the principle can be extrapolated generally: the technical analysis of certain paintings confirms this.

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178 Transverse sections of the gallery at the level of the Great Black Bull, Axial Gallery. Note the absence of a ledge in the section of wall traversing the rear part of the aurochs.

In the Hall of the Bulls, the problem applies to a section of the works. The cross section of this hall presents an overhang at a mean angle of 60° relative to the vertical. The figures close to its upper border are therefore displaced towards the central part of the hall, in such a way that they were executed on the ceiling rather than on a wall. For most of them, the artist could dispense with scaffolding with a simple change of technique, by extending his reach: for example, by using a brush with a longer handle. As for the sprayed figures, it was absolutely necessary to be as close to the wall as possible, in particular for the bichrome horse and the brown horse on the left wall. The respective dimensions of these two figures are sufficiently modest that the artist did not have to change his position much during the course of his work. The use of a small wooden structure placed below the figures gave him easier access to the wall. Furthermore, the use of surfaces towards the middle of the gallery ruled our any abutting against the wall. These observations suggest that small wooden structures, which can perhaps be compared to stools, were used only very intermittently, when the painting instruments had reached their limits.

Another illustration of the interdependence between the artist and the wall is given by the fifth bull of the Hall of the Bulls. This is a drawing in which only the outlines of the muzzle, the chest, the forelimbs and part of the line of the belly have been traced by spraying, whereas the hindquarters and the upper line were drawn with a brush (ill. 176). Those of the withers, the head and the horns were executed by a juxtaposition of connected dots, from 2 to 3 centimetres in diameter, which gives a greater precision to the alignment of the lines and thus permits a more accomplished outline. The particularly clear technical break is seen at the height of the line of the belly (ill. 177). The sprayed part is interrupted two thirds of the way along the curve, where it is replaced by a section drawn with a brush. The origin of these changes can be traced in constraints in the morphology of the gallery: the ledge of the wall, upon which it is possible to climb in order to be at the desired height, only underlies the left part of the figure. On the right, the opening of the Passageway lies below, impeding access to the wall. Moreover, the strong overhang, which extends across the entire useable surface, from the edge to the centre of the Hall of the Bulls, distances this from the ridge at the base of the wall. Access to the upper level is thus only possible with the use of brushes or pads at the end of a handle long enough to execute the outlines of this very large figure.

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179 Two graphic techniques were necessary to complete the Great Black Bull, Axial Gallery. The head and two thirds of the body were sprayed, while a brush was used for the upper part and the tail. This procedure is primarily dependent upon constraints of access to the walls.

In the Axial Gallery, the base of the panel of the Great Black Bull lies some 1.9 metres above the level of the floor (ill. 179). Two techniques were used for this second large representation. Whereas the lower two thirds of the figure were executed by spraying, the upper line, the top of the head, the horns and the tail have been traced with a brush. This was once interpreted as repainting, even as an episode at a later period. Closer examination reveals that this change occurs as a curve extending from the poll and crossing the middle of the thigh. On the other hand, the cross section of the ledge below the animal is at an angle (ill. 178), which renders the shelf broader at the front of the animal than at its right extremity, where the space available to stand upright diminishes significantly before disappearing altogether. These two observations reveal that the part created by spraying is found at the level of a man perched on the ledge. Beyond this point, the artist, unable to continue using this technique, executed his line with a brush, artificially increasing his field of action. The use of scaffolding was thus unnecessary.

The same panel shows a second example of the same sort. Behind the Great Black Bull are the incomplete outlines of a female aurochs overlying the left hindlimb (ill. 180). Its partial character (only the forequarters were painted) is related, above all, to the morphology of the wall. The ledge is interrupted at the level of the forelimbs of the bovine. Looking at the orientation of the sprayed pigments says a lot about the position of the artist. From the head to the neck the axis of spraying remains perpendicular to the wall, but becomes increasingly inclined moving towards the back, which must have brought the artist very close to the wall. The density of the pigment decreases from the chest to the right edge of the flank due to the growing masking effect of the microstructures of the wall. Beyond the clearly incomplete field of colour a weak angular brush stroke gives form to the section formed by the line of the belly and the beginning of the left hindlimb. This final addition demonstrates the impossibility of access to this zone, despite the evident wish to complete the drawing.

These observations show that the realization of a work or composition was largely determined by the morphology of the support, which sometimes forced a change of technique. The artists knew how to adapt themselves to situations and how to make the best possible use of them.

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180 The decrease in colour intensity observed on the right section of the coat of this cow, in the panel of the Great Black Bull (Axial Gallery), was caused by the way in which the artist sprayed the pigments. In the absence of a step, which could have provided access to this figure, the further away the surface is from the standpoint, the shallower the angle of projection of the pigment. Correspondingly, the pigments have been spread more thinly - hence this clear fading.
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Re: LASCAUX -- MOVEMENT, SPACE, AND TIME

Postby admin » Sun Sep 13, 2015 12:21 am

Construction of the Panels

In this section we deal more specifically with the dynamic aspect of the iconography of the site - that of the 'layout' of the figures. The aim is to identify the many episodes represented by the works in the different sectors of the cave and to evaluate the respective roles of space and time which determined man's activities at Lascaux.

The studies conducted by Max Raphael, [52] and then by Annette Laming-Emperaire [53] and Andre Leroi- Gourhan, [54] showed that, despite the apparently random distribution of the figures, it was possible to identify a certain spatial structuring. firstly at me level of the panel and then, by extension, the site as a whole.

The overall reading of the panels very often masks the modes of their organization. Their identification is not immediately obvious, because it complicated the grouping and association of animals of different species. Separating the elements of the bestiary theme by theme enables us to see the layout of the families (or monothematic groups) and to recognize their spatial structuring. In this way, alignments of motifs, symmetrical or superimposed constructions emerge, which may be repeated from one panel to the next or even in the same composition. Noticeably, within these monothematic groups, the figures have the same dimensions. This feature appears to be significant. Nevertheless, several grouped aggregations often do not conform to any of these defined layouts.

We have also noted the existence of a close agreement between the geometry of the work and the shape of the wall, something which once more confirms the existence of intimate connections between the natural setting and the modes of association of the figures. These may be distributed horizontally, vertically or in the form of a cluster. The themes represented in these groups are in each case uniform (one animal species per group). The repetition of this phenomenon shows that the art at Lascaux is not fortuitous but the result of precise layouts and preconceived concepts.

HORIZONTAL DISTRIBUTION OF THE FIGURES

There are two forms of distribution of figures on the horizontal axis: the most common is in a frieze, the other is symmetrical. In a frieze, the represented animals extend along the same level, most often following the line of a natural formation, a discontinuity between strata or a fault. The number of individuals varies from three to a maximum of fifteen in the case of the long procession of horses on the panel of the Great Black Cow (ill. 181). The figures of the group may possess all of their anatomical elements (such as the animals in the frieze of the Small Horses and the Chinese Horses) or be limited to the head (such as the frieze of the Swimming Stags and those of the Ibexes in the Nave and the aurochs overlain by the Great Black Bull in the Axial Gallery). Nevertheless, entire animals may be associated with reduced examples of the same species, such as the black horses of the Hall of the Bulls and those of the panel of the Great Black Cow. It should be noted that, in most cases, the most detailed subjects of such a group occupy a central position, whereas one or several heads are found at the margins, The same is true of incomplete animals when they are associated with a polythematic composition. In these cases they occupy either the upper part of the panel or its base. The panel of the Chinese Horses illustrates this through an equid head in its lower part. The same can be said for an isolated horse head to the right of the panel with the Unicorn.

To these properties of the friezes (alignment along the same level, identical size of the motifs) can be added a third: orientation. All the animals of the simple groups face in the same direction. With mixed associations, on the other hand, the disconnected heads often face in the opposite direction to that of the more complete figures (the frieze of the black horses in the Hall of the Bulls, panel of the Great Black Cow in the Nave, or the single equid head painted at the far left facing the other representations of horses).

This inversion of the orientation of the animals, which can be observed in many monothematic compositions, can also be applied to the complete animals. Here it suggests confrontation. Up to six subjects may be associated on the same horizontal line. The large bulls of the Hall of the Bulls are the model for this. Their distribution is asymmetrical, with both complete figures and others limited to the forequarters or reduced to a head, the latter located at each end of the long panel. This distribution is not a frieze, nor is it symmetrical, but it represents an intermediate situation. There are only a few symmetrical constructions. The Confronted Ibexes in the Axial Gallery are distinguished only by their colour, and the stags engraved on the left wall of the Apse ate also symmetrical. By contrast, the Crossed Bison in the Nave are painted with very slightly overlapping outlines in a diverging position.

VERTICAL EXPANSION

Vertical expansion can be related to constraints of topography or perspective, or a combination of the two. The constriction at the locality of the Upside-down Horse prevented any horizontal expansion over the left wall, but the Red Panel is on the facing tight wall. The Upside-down Horse takes the form of an interface. Avery large branching sign extends regular limbs on to each surface of the wall and forms the ridge between them. These surfaces are taller than they are broad, and encouraged the representation of a vertical composition with pairs of superimposed figures, on both the left and the right panels, thereby giving this composition a certain symmetry. Once more, under these conditions the incomplete figures occupy a position at the edge.

As we have mentioned in the chapter relating to perspective, the vertical element is also employed for representing staggered depictions. This distinctive form of depiction was generated by a multiplication of the number of planes and leads to an alteration of outlines which becomes progressively more pronounced the further away the observer is from the subject. The examples of the frieze of the Small Stags or that of the group of horses located in front of the Falling Cow illustrate this type of layout.

IRREGULAR FORMS

In some cases the walls of the cave present highly varied conditions which permit a diversification of parietal patterns in contrast with the uniformity of the majority of the galleries. These irregular forms cover the Passageway, the Chamber of the Felines and the Apse in their entirety.

The Passageway, a straight gallery in general form, nonetheless presents a meandering shape, with a succession of alcoves separated from each another by vertical ridges. This arrangement divided the available space into as many useable surfaces as there are concavities. The sense of discontinuity was increased by difficulties of movement, the height of the ceiling varying between 1 and 1.5 metres, which limited the view of the gallery as a whole and exaggerated the segmentation of its space. In terms of the gallery as a whole, the figures are not arranged geometrically, but on the smaller, more regular surfaces they return to a more formal composition. The overall irregular character of the motifs appears to dominate. One can say the same of the figures in the Chamber of the Felines.

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181 Lascaux or the art of the frieze. The frieze of the Small Horses, Axial Gallery, is a model example, with a development along a single horizontal line, subjects of similar dimensions, the same orientation and, often, a simplification of the outlines of the lateral motifs.

The Apse has an almost ovoid form. Certain surfaces, particularly at the base, might have lent themselves to an organization of figures similar to those of the Hall of the Bulls, but the steep slope of the floors was a major obstacle. The desire to produce works of imposing dimensions could restrict the creation of a frieze with multiple elements. The sequence of the large stags might be identified as such a composition, but their movement, which is very different from one subject to the next, would suggest that this procession is made up of a number of individuals. On the other hand. some compositions of this type do exist, but with subjects of much more modest proportions (the confronted horses on the ceiling, the confronted stags of the middle level, the frieze of the engraved and painted Small Stags of the Apsidiole and the Crossed Bison). The rather restricted dimensions of the Apse (with only a few tens of square metres of surface) contrast with the high density of painted or engraved figures. In this confusion of figures it is difficult, with the possible exception of the largest figures, to recognize any organization of motifs comparable to that of the immediately adjacent and similarly formed Hall of the Bulls or Nave. With its highly irregular distribution of figures, in the sense that this does not respect any geometrical rules, the Apse must have played a specific role very different from that of the other sectors.

The shapes and the surfaces of the walls materialize in rough outlines, attracting their attention and dictating in some way the organization and the geometry of the compositions. This interplay of the natural environment and human creation is continuous. It is a true symbiosis.

Nevertheless, it seems difficult to know whether Palaeolithic people wanted to rake up all the available surface with an unlimited number of themes, or restrict their different compositions to a preconceived message.

Chronology of Parietal Events

This final discussion introduces the notion of time in the construction of the various compositions in order to identify their relative chronology and attempt to determine the major sequences that led to the positioning of the iconography.

The high number of figures per panel and the impressive size of some of them lead to numerous overlaps. Most of these remain partial, limited to very short sections (ill. 182), but some cover a large part of the underlying images, or indeed hide almost the entire subject. The superimpositions, which are sometimes inconvenient for the interpretation of the works, have an obvious advantage when it comes to identifying and classifying the different episodes during which they were executed. This path of research was followed by Andre Glory. [55] He concluded that the whole ensemble was realized in six periods, defined by their themes and by the techniques employed, which revealed several occupations of the sire during part of the Upper Palaeolithic.

We analysed the figures stratigraphically in order to determine the order in which the different animal motifs within each panel were positioned, no longer looking at them from a technological angle, bur rather a thematic one. The great alteration of the walls in the Apse and the Passageway, together with the absence of relevant examples in the Shaft and the Chamber of the Felines, prompted us to take into consideration only the Hall of the Bulls, the Axial Gallery and the Nave. Furthermore, with very poorly represented themes such as the bird, the rhinoceros or the feline, it is not possible to record any superimposition. The analysis is therefore based on the equids. the cervids and the bovines, but also on special cases such as the Unicorn and the bear. We limited the study to eight themes: bull, cow, bison, ibex, horse, stag, bear and undetermined (the Unicorn). Forty-seven superimpositions were recorded involving these figures. They are distributed in approximately equivalent numbers in each of the three areas, but in unequal proportions in relation to the number of animal figures. We counted sixteen cases in the Hall of the Bulls, sixteen in the Axial Gallery and fifteen in the Nave. Of all the potential superimposition of the different themes we identified only fourteen. This imbalance derives both from the limited number overall and from a very important numerical disparity between the different themes. Exceptional subjects, such as the bear and the Unicorn, lie next to the more common species, such as horse, aurochs or stag. On their own, these three species make up 97 per cent of the bestiary of the Hall of the Bulls, 93 per cent in the Axial Gallery and 71 per cent in the Nave.

There are remarkable repetitions in the positioning of the different themes. They are regularly found across all the panels, which has enabled us to demonstrate that the horse came first. In fact, its image is always below that of the aurochs, just as the latter is always below the stag. This is true of all the analysed superimpositions. This repetition of the sequences is based on a precise thematic order, horse-aurochs-stag, and reveals a very strict arrangement of the figures, which had already been suggested in 'the study of spatial structuring.

Moreover, the uniformity of the works at the centre of the monothematic groups is remarkable, not only in terms of their formal characteristics but also their techniques and colours. The fact that the animals of the same group have an identical orientation, that they are regularly spaced and that they show a similar animation suggests that extremely close links existed between them. The numerous examples include almost all the figures of the Hall of the Bulls, the Axial Gallery and the Nave. There are other examples in the test of the cave, although less conspicuous.

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182 The numerous superimpositions of images have allowed recognition of the order in which the different subjects of the panels were painted, drawn or engraved. Here, the antler of one of the red Stags covers the muzzle of the second bull, Hall of the Bulls.

In the majority of cases, the similarities of the animals are the result of the underlying form given to the outline to be reproduced. The artists thus had a pre-existing virtual shape in their minds. This is recognized in the overall perception of the works and serves as a guiding framework, on to which the anatomical details are later grafted. The construction of the frieze of the Swimming Stags, for example, relies upon a series of 'X'-shaped forms, the upper branches of which replace the two antlers, and the lower ones marking out the line of the neck and the forehead. In the same way, the position of the engraved and painted frieze of the Ibexes on the facing wall reveals a similar preliminary sketch in a series of alternating, sub-parallel arcs for the horns of these animals.

There is less variability in the formal, technical, chromatic and ethological characteristics of animals of a group. This homogeneity indicates that the assembly of figures in a monothematic group was created at the same time and by the same person. The construction of the panels is therefore not limited to a simple juxtaposition of motifs - it translates the desire to treat all the elements of a monothematic group in an integrated fashion and give them great cohesion. This reasoning, based on the stratigraphic analysis of the figures on the one hand and the observation of the thematic uniqueness of the groups on the other, allows us to define the modalities of the construction of the compositions and to recognize a sequence of events for each panel, in each space studied. The composition of figures in the Hall of the Bulls is the prime example. The positioning of the groups was carried out in several successive phases. The first consists of the long frieze of the black horses (ill. 183), including the isolated head on the left and the two sketches on the right. Then the Unicorn enters the composition, followed by the second series of red and brown equids, spread Out in a sloping line (ill. 184), including the large polychrome horse, with motifs sketched on its flank, and the horse on the right between the horns of the two great bulls. Next is the group of bovines (ill. 185) with, in order, the large black bulls, then the red cows and the calves. Later, the space between the second and third bulls was filled by the frieze of the Small Stags (ill. 186). The bear took its place during this final phase, although we are unable to define when this was relative to the cervids.

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183 The construction of this composition begins with the frieze of the black horses.

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184 After the Unicorn, a second frieze of horses, this time coloured, takes its place on the wall.

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185 The very segmented image of the second bull represents a period of enhancement following that of the horses.

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186 During a final stage in the construction of this panel, the space left free between the two large confronted bulls is filled with the group of the Small Stags, Hall of the Bulls.

In the first third of the Axial Gallery, the animals respond to the same logic. The two friezes of three horses - that of the Chinese Horses and its pendant on the facing wall- are earlier than the group formed by the four female aurochs. An identical chronology is seen on the panel of the Swimming Stags, with precedence of the horse relative to the stags, and on the panels of the Great Black Cow and the Imprint. upon which the bovines (aurochs and bison) came later than the horses.
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