The discovery of pre-historic decorated caves in western Europe transformed the way we think about the development of art. The earliest known evidence of human artistic endeavor, the awe-inspiring paintings, dramatic engravings and small, delicate sculptures of animals and humans found in these caves still hold a unique power and fascination, more than a century after they were first discovered. In this book, internationally renowned expert on prehistoric art Jean Clottes explores the origins of art and creativity. He takes the reader on a guided tour of 85 caves and rock shelters, many of which are not open to the public, revealing the extraordinary beauty of the works of art within them. Cave Art features more than 300 works from the Paleolithic period, made between 35,000 and 11,000 years ago, presented in geographical and chronological order. This comprehensive, accessible introduction to prehistoric art includes such spectacular works as the famous horses of Lascaux, the buffalo in the Altamira cave in Spain and the ivory carving of a woman's face found at Brassempouy in the south of France, as well as examples from less well-known sites. A wonderful range of animals is presented, from cave bears to reindeer, as well as mysterious abstract signs and schematic representations of human beings. Examples of portable art and sculpture are also included. While most of the caves described in the book are European, Cave Art also includes examples of open-air rock art made after the last ice age at sites around the world. With an unparalleled selection of images, Cave Art offers a unique guided tour of the earliest expressions of human creativity. Each work in Cave Art is illustrated by a color photograph, and accompanied by a clear, vivid explanatory text. A concise introduction tells the story of the discovery of the caves, and gives a clear outline of current knowledge, research and debate on the subject of prehistoric art. The book also includes a chronology, maps of the main caves and sites, a glossary and a list of sites that can be visited.
Jean Clottes (b. 1933) is the world expert on prehistoric art. A respected scholar, he taught in many universities around the world, including Toulouse (France), Berkeley (United States), Gerona (Spain) and Neuchatel (Switzerland). Still very active today, Clottes is involved in many international organizations. He is an expert at ICOMOS-UNESCO (International Committee on Monuments and Sites), a member of the High Council for Historical Monuments, and the president of IFRAO (International Federation of Rock Art Organizations). Clottes has published numerous books on the subject, including World Rock Art (Getty Foundation, 2002), Chauvet Cave (University of Utah Press, 2003) and The Shamans of Prehistory (Abrams, 1998). He received numerous awards, and was appointed Chevalier in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (1973), Chevalier in the Ordre de la Legion d'Honneur (2000) and Commandeur in the Ordre des Palmes Academiques (2007).