Graphic narration  and Spatial Organization in the Grotte Chauvet-Pont d'Arc

Author(s): Marc Azéma

Year: 2015


The Aurignacian site of Grotte Chauvet-Pont d’Arc (Ardèche, ca. 37,000 calBP) signals the origin of figurative art, with nearly 500 stylistically uniform parietal decorations. Images of animals are composed in a spectacular fashion, especially in the Secteur des Chevaux and the Salle du Fond. The latter, the end of the cave’s passages, is the clearest example of the management of subterranean space by Paleolithic artists in the interest of achieving their ultimate intention: to narrate by image. The animated representations relate to each other in a narrative system whose meaning is lost to us. Multiple levels of graphic themes can be identified, the most evident being the major role of the "lead actor" in the cave: the cave lion. This narrative illustration develops at the level of the simple illustrated panel to that of complex frieze and to the level of the ensemble of the Salle du Fond. The cave itself directs the order in which the visitor perceives the images, thereby structuring the narrative constructed by the representational associations of unknown significance (symbolic? mythological?). Comparison of the Salle with other chambers of the cave confirms the likely extension of this narrative system to the scale of the entire cave

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Graphic narration  and Spatial Organization in the Grotte Chauvet-Pont d'Arc. Marc Azéma. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395396)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;