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Monday, September 19, 2011

Prehistoric Cave Art and Cave Paintbrushes!

Prehistoric Lascaux Cave drawings/paintings! Check out the cave paintbrushes!

Come travel with us back to 30,000 B.C to where art began! Cave dwellers from prehistoric times were artists of their time using minerals to create paints to create drawings of animals that roamed the earth. Wild horses, wild bulls, elk and deer, and handprints of the artists appear in all kinds of deep red, orange, and deep black colors that cover the ceilings and walls. In the 1940, the cave was discovered in France by 4 teenagers and their dog when they discovered a hole that went underground and led to the cave.

3rd graders watched video clips of a tour of the cave and we talked about how these cave people made their paint and to think about how they would make their paintbrushes. Then each table ('cavepeople tribe') were given a cave wall (a giant piece of brown craft paper roll) that they would wrinkle up to give it cave wall texture. Then looking at some close up photos, students recreated the drawings on their own wall with pastels of the same colors of the original drawings from Lascaux.

Inside Lascaux Cave

cave painting/drawing of a wild horse

Aa photo of inside looking at the wall and ceiling of Lascaux.
 Bulls, deer, elk, and wild horses line the walls and ceiling

ancient handprint in Lasacaux cave

Then as a finishing touch we made cave man paintbrushes! We used the brushes to make our 'signature' or handprint to show who made this art. They didn't have a written language back then, so leaving a handprint was a sign of who was there and who could have made the art! Here's how we made the brushes. Students found a stick and then had to pick one of 3 styles to make:
-grass bristle
-fake fur bristle
-feather bristle
All paintbrushes were made with the help of 'cave man tape' aka masking tape (more fun this way:) ) and some 'cave man string' wrapped around the base. The fake fur we prended was wooly mammoth or deer/elk hide that our tribe had hunted.
a student using their cave paintbrush to make their hand print 'signature'

Students could either trace around their hand with chalk and blend, trace around their hand with a paintbrush, or paint directly on their palm and stamp to make the handprint.

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