de Font de Gaume, Dordogne
This is the entrance to the cave paintings at Font de Gaume. This site was, for me, the highlight of our trip and one of the most impressive sights that I have ever seen.
Understand, I don't make this claim lightly. I've done alot of traveling. I have seen the sun set over Stonehenge and I have seen the sun rise over the Acropolis. I've stared for hours at the glass smooth waters of the Golden Horn under a full moon. I have walked down the streets of great cities living and dead. And looking at the paintings in this cave practically melted my brain.
|I went expecting to be impressed. I mean
really...15,000 year old paintings. Cool.
However, pictures in a book don't prepare you. The humans who painted these images weren't “cave men”, they were artists. They understood perspective and contrast. They used the contours of the cave as they formed their images. The rounded hump of a bison, the leg of a running horse, the eye and mouth of a charging reindeer, all shaped by the curves of the cave wall.
And you look at these paintings, at the bison with attitude, the herds of animals spilling across the wall and ceiling and well...hnmm...It is as if that painter, those artists, reached forward and for a moment you reach back. And in that moment, you see a bit of their world.