Cave Paintings: The First Pictures
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Thursday, February 19, 2015
By Julie

My husband and I were watching "The Croods" the other night and it hit me - were cave paintings the first pictures? At the end of the movie, when the father thinks he will never see his family again, he starts to draw them all on the wall and as the images come to life, he smiles as if he is looking at a family photo or video. (Image below is from that scene in the movie.)

We were interested to learn more so we watched a documentary about Neanderthals. This particular documentary focused on the Neanderthals from the Asturias region of northern Spain - the cave that they spent most time researching and collecting artifacts from is called El Sidron. All evidence from that cave date back 42,000-44,000 years ago. Amazing. The artifacts that they were collecting and studying told the archaeologists a lot about what happened to them (which is tragic) but not a lot was discussed in the documentary about how they lived so we began watching other documentaries that focused solely on cave paintings.

Cave paintings surely are the oldest form of art that we know of but I thought the connection between cave paintings and photos was quite interesting. They were telling the story of their lives & their time through these images. We can understand their interpretation of human connection, what they hunted, how they spent their time, etc... all from these drawings. Interestingly enough, you can tell a lot about someone's life today just by looking through their photos -

1) Interactions: Who is in them? (Possible Answers: Mom & dad, a spouse, a child...)

2) Hobbies & Activites: What are they doing in the photo? (Possible Answers: Snowboarding, fishing, swimming...)

3) Achievements: Did they get an award, have a celebration in their honor, get a promotion, graduate from college...?

For now, while I'm still trying to understand more about that era, I can only wonder but I'm determined to learn more about this connection. I will leave you with a few beautiful cave paintings that I found online - see below. The artistic abilities here are just amazing to me. Enjoy!


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