Herodotus Returns

werner herzog to make documentary on chauvet cave
April 29, 2010, 9:34 am
Filed under: Rock Art | Tags: , , , ,

Werner Herzog has been given permission to make a documentary film about the Chauvet cave in France. This is extraordinary news. Chauvet is the greatest trove of preshitoric art anywhere in the world, the Holy Grail. The paintings on these cave walls go back to the Aurginacian – that’s 33,000 years ago, almost twice as old as the paintings in the more famous Lascuax (17,000 years). Photographs of the paintings in Chauvet reveal some of the most beautiful, delicate, sensitively rendered images – in the greatest abundance – throughout prehistory. As famously beautiful and crucial as Chauvet is among archaeologists, it just as famously inaccessible. After seeing how years of heavy tourism nearly destroyed the paintings in Lascaux (lichen and mold corroded the paintings), the caretakers at Chauvet, knowing how priceless of a treasure they hold, have sealed off the cave to just about everyone. No tourists, of course, but only a handful of researchers even have been allowed to see the paintings firsthand. Prominent rock art scholars who have dedicated lives to studying prehistoric cave paintings have been turned away. To my mind (and many agree), few places in the world are so tantalizing.  Werner Herzog, the German documentarian-savant, meanwhile, ‘talked his way into the cave.’  Herzog was allowed to go into the cave on two separate occasions – of course, following very tight restrictions – to shoot a 3-D documentary. It will be the first time the public has seen these paintings except for in photographs. I can hear Herzog’s trademark Teutonic stage voice echoing in the cave now…

Here’s a little more from The Guardian.


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