Creating Copies of Lascaux

Creating Copies of Lascaux

The real Lascaux has been closed to the public since 1963, when contamination from the high number of visitors began to threaten the artwork. The French government now allows only a handful of experts to access the cave each year.

In 1983, a concrete facsimile called “Lascaux II” opened near the original cave. Eleven years of painstaking work by local artist Monique Peytral and other painters and sculptors resulted in exact reproductions of two of the cave’s most famous chambers—The Hall of Bulls and The Axial Gallery.

Today, thanks to the most advanced digital projection technology, you can take a virtual tour of the entire cave in “Lascaux III,” Scenes from the Stone Age: The Cave Paintings of Lascaux, now at The Field Museum. State-of-the-art computer animations and digital imaging techniques allow you to peel away the layers of paint to see how the images were created over time.

Plus, cutting-edge laser mapping, high-resolution stereoscopic photos, and geodesic modeling have made it possible to produce incredibly accurate and life-sized replicas of five panels from two chambers—The Nave and The Shaft—which have never before been seen outside of the original cave.