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Matthew PriceThe art in this cave—called Lascaux, the Sistine Chapel of cave art—and in many others that dot parts of France and Spain deservedly ranks with the greatest masterworks of Western art. Yet these paintings have provoked as much vexed speculation as they have wonder and awe: What was their purpose? Why are there so many pictures of animals? The painters had many colors at their disposal, but why do black and red dominate? Why are there no pictures of sky, moon or trees? What are the strange geometric signs found in many of the caves? Why are there few images of people? Just what does it all mean? Such questions have kept generations of scholars and archaeologists busy trying to find a definitive if ever elusive explanation.
In The Cave Painters, journalist Gregory Curtis provides a fine, lucid introduction to the debates—there are plenty of intellectual imbroglios and, sorry for the pun, a few off-the-wall theories—plus a succinct guide to the aesthetics of the paintings themselves.
—The Washington Post