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The Cave Painters is a vivid introduction to the spectacular cave paintings of France and Spain—the individuals who rediscovered them, theories about their origins, their splendor and mystery.
Gergory Curtis makes us see the astonishing sophistication and power of the paintings and tells us what is known about their creators, the Cro-Magnon people of some 40,000 years ago. He takes us through various theories—that the art was part of fertility or hunting rituals, or used for religious purposes, or was clan mythology—examining the ways interpretations have changed over time. Rich in detail, personalities, and history, The Cave Painters is above all permeated with awe for those distant humans who developed—perhaps for the first time—both the ability for abstract thought and a profound and beautiful way to express it.
“Fascinating. . . . We will be arguing about these glorious creations for many years to come.” —The Washington Post Book World
“The beauty of the cave art moves Curtis deeply, and his writing preserves that passionate response.” —Seattle Times
“Curtis is a good storyteller, and he has good stories to tell about eccentrics of all sorts.” —The Christian Science Monitor
“A fascinating survey of the rival theories. . . . [Readers will be] swept up in the beauty of the cave paintings and the persuasive pull of his prose.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch
“For centuries, people have been going into caves in France and Spain, looking at the 30,000-year-old pictures painted there and asking, ‘What can they be?’ In this lively survey, Curtis makes it clear that while we’ll never have a definitive answer, the quest will always be fascinating. . . . For readers who may never visit the caves, Curtis’s sensitive narration gives a chance to share that encounter with mystery.” —Publishers Weekly