The Sistine Chapel of Prehistory
Fri 14-11-2014 - Sun 12-04-2015
The exhibition is extended until 12th April and closed on Monday 6th April.

September 1940 in the Dordogne, France. Four boys penetrated further into the hillside cavity to which they had gained entry. To their amazement, they discovered an extensive cave with decorated walls. It rapidly became apparent that they had made one of the most fascinating archaeological discoveries of the twentieth century. Shortly thereafter began a stream of visitors running into the hundreds of thousands.

The cave contains both paintings and incised drawings. These are about 20 000 years old and make the cave one of the world’s most important sites of rock art. A good 900 animals are pictured, including aurochs, deer, horses and bison. There is also an enigmatic depiction of a human being.

In order to protect the cave and particularly the rock art for future generations, the site was in 1963 closed to the public. Fortunately, full-scale copies of these works of art have been made at regular intervals, thereby enabling the public to continue to enjoy this splendour. The most recent series of reproductions are being displayed in the Cinquantenaire Museum in Brussels from 14 November 2014 on. Lascaux is an exhibition directed chiefly towards families and in 2013 was chosen as ‘Touring Exhibition of the Year’, enjoying enormous success in the United States and Canada.

Full-scale, scientifically accurate reproductions and the most up-to-date visual technologies give the visitor the impression of actually being in the cave itself. The exhibition also pays attention to the cultural context within which this art originated, showing how its creators lived, hunted, ate and clothed themselves. Serving to frame the whole are complete animal skeletons and bone fragments, a realistic portrayal of a baby mammoth, and contemporary implements and jewellery, drawn from the Museum of Natural Sciences and the Cinquantenaire Museum.

The exhibition is being organized by Lascaux-International Exhibition in co-operation with the Cinquantenaire Museum and the Museum of Natural Sciences; a co-operative project between these two federal institutions, it is being supported by the Belgian Science Policy Office, with further support being provided by the General Council of Dordogne, the Regional Council of Aquitaine, the French Ministry of Culture and Communication, and the European Union.