Carol Hendricks, Art and Culture
7 January 2012
Cave of Forgotten Dreams
The magnificence of art is evident across the ages. The movie, “Cave of Forgotten Dreams,” produced by Wermer Herzog, depicts a close up look into the earliest art of the Paleolithic Age found deep in the Chauvet Cave in France. The cave paintings were discovered by three explorers who set out in search of hidden caves in the mountains above the Ardèche River in France. This discovery has given the modern world a look into the ancient past, which was not previously possible. This film explains how the discovery of the Chauvet Cave was made, describes the obstacles Wermer Herzog faced while filming the movie, and has given me a new appreciation for art of all ages.
The Chauvet Cave was discovered just a few days before Christmas in 1994. Three men set out on an exploration for hidden caves in the mountains above the Ardèche River in France. During this exploration, they felt a subtle air flow in the mountainside. In this place, the men began clearing away the rocks, revealing a cave opening so narrow they could barely squeeze through. As they were descending into the cave, the men were unaware they would soon uncover one of the greatest discoveries in human culture. Although at first the caves did not seem to be out of the ordinary, they continued to explore deeper and came across intricate paintings depicting various animals, on the cave walls. A few days after the discovery, scientists began studying the paintings. At first glance the paintings seemed fresh, almost as if they were a forgery. However, they found some of the paintings covered with calcite and concretions, which takes thousands of years to grow. Unintentionally, these three explorers uncovered the oldest Paleolithic art known to this day.
To film the discovery of the Paleolithic art uncovered in the Chauvet Cave, Wermer Herzog overcame many obstacles. For example, only...