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(Note: For a comparison with Gravettian imagery, see Cosquer Cave cave paintings.)The entrance leads directly into the main chamber called the Hall of the Bulls.This leads to the slightly smaller Axial Gallery (or Painted Gallery) (a dead end), or the Passageway, both of which are heavily decorated with various types of art, including paintings and engravings.These styles of painting and engraving continued during the European Solutrean and Magdalenian eras, although their earliest forms are believed to have first emerged around 30,000 BCE.The Lascaux cave complex was discovered in 1940 by teenagers Marcel Ravidat, Jacques Marsal, Georges Agnel, and Simon Coencasin, and eight years later, it was opened to the public.
The sheer number of images, their size and exceptional realism, as well as their spectacular colours, is why Lascaux (like Altamira) is sometimes referred to as "The Sistine Chapel of Prehistory".(See also the magnificent bison paintings at Font de Gaume Cave in the Perigord.)Discovered in 1940, close to the village of Montignac, in the Dordogne region of southwestern France, Lascaux is especially famous for its painting, which includes a rare example of a human figure; the largest single image ever found in a prehistoric cave (the Great Black Bull); and a quantity of mysterious abstract signs, which have yet to be deciphered.Its most famous chambers include the "Hall of the Bulls", the "Axial Gallery", the "Apse" and the "Shaft".This worsened during the 2000s, prompting the French Ministry of Culture to organize an international symposium in Paris in 2009 ("Lascaux and Preservation Issues in Subterranean Environments") to debate and resolve the problem.Today, only a tiny handful of people (mostly scientists) are permitted inside Lascaux for a few days each year in order to help prevent the magnificent paintings, drawings and engravings from joining their creators, and vanishing entirely.