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• What Was the Purpose of These Cave Paintings? • Famous Caves - France and Spain - Rest of Europe - India - South Africa - Namibia - Australia - Argentina - SE Asia In prehistoric art, the term "cave painting" encompasses any parietal art which involves the application of colour pigments on the walls, floors or ceilings of ancient rock shelters.A monochrome cave painting is a picture made with only one colour (usually black) - see, for instance, the monochrome images at Chauvet.Thus we see the monochrome paintings of Aurignacian culture (40-25,000 BCE) give way to the polychrome art of the Gravettian (25-20,000 BCE), leading to the apogee of cave painting which is traditionally acknowledged to occur during the Magdalenian era (c.15-10,000 BCE) at Lascaux, Altamira, Font de Gaume and Les Combarelles.

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According to this theory, the development of cave art coincided with the displacement of Neanderthal man by anatomically modern man, starting around 40,000 BCE.

Indeed, it was from about this date that the earliest rock art began to emerge in caves and rock shelters around the world, but especially throughout the Franco-Cantabrian region.

Alternatively, depending on whether or not the contour of the cave wall made it necessary, additional engraving or even sculpting would be applied to boost volume and relief.

The most spectacular examples of this rock art have been discovered in southwestern France and northern Spain - hence it is sometimes referred to as Franco-Cantabrian cave art - where archeologists have found some 350 caves containing Upper Paleolithic artworks.

Second, the completed drawing of the animal would be coloured or filled in with red ochre or other pigments.