Lascaux Cave Painting | Artopia


A Closer Look

The Caves of Lascaux, France are filled with prehistoric paintings including this horse. It is one of the oldest paintings in the world, created during the Paleolithic (belonging to the cultural period known as the Stone Age, marked by the use of stone tools) era, sometime between 15,000 and 10,000 BC. Since cave dwellers couldn't go to the art store to buy their supplies, what did they use to paint these pictures? Substances not commonly used for making art are called unconventional materials. Find some unconventional materials and create an artwork. Use your imagination.

About the Painting

More than 600 animals are depicted on the walls of the Lascaux cave and almost a fourth of them are horses. The walls of the cave are very hard so the artists could not engrave an outline into the rock as they did in some other caves. They painted with mineral-based pigments like iron oxide, which has a reddish color. Sometimes they used their fingers or pads of fur and moss to apply the paints. They even spray-painted by blowing paint through a hollow bone! 

About the Artist

Nobody knows exactly who painted this horse so we call the artist Anonymous. We do know that the artists of Lascaux, France lived in caves more than 10,000 years ago. They decorated the walls of their caves with beautiful paintings that show great artistic skill.


Write About It

  • Make a list of what you see.
  • How did the artist use the elements and principles of design?
  • What do you think the painting means? How does it make you feel?
  • Select two paintings to compare & contrast.