After entering for the first time the top ten of the most visited Italian museums of 2019, the Mann – National Archaeological Museum of Naples has been preparing for an extraordinary dive into the past. From today 31st January, and until May 31st, this majestic building will be hosting a highly faithful reproduction of the Lascaux Caves in a unique exhibit called “Lascaux 3.0”. Thanks to this incredible event, for the first time in Italy visitors will finally have the privilege to admire and lose themselves in the famous cave complex of south-western France.
But why are the Lascaux Caves so famous?
Lascaux Caves is an impressive Palaeolithic cave complex situated in southwestern France, near the village of Montignac that houses some of the most famous examples of prehistoric cave paintings. About 600 paintings – mostly of animals – decorate the inner walls of the caves in a mostly unique compositions: ibex, aurochs, bison, horses, deer and felines representations can be found in this ancient location together with around 1400 engravings of a similar order, many tools used specifically for carving engravings into the walls and remains of shellfish shells, probably used as personal adornments. These archaic artworks and objects dating back to c. 17,000 – c. 15,000 BCE, fall within the Upper Palaeolithic period and were created by the skilled hands of human beings living in the area almost 18 thousand years ago.
Used probably as a ritualistic or even as a spiritual complex, Lascaux caves were discovered by chance in 1940 and were opened to the public in 1948 after major excavation works. From 1979 the complex has been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site along with other prehistoric sites in its proximity.
What makes Lascaux 3.0 exhibit so important?
Would be amazing to admire this unique location in person but, even if you go to France…you cannot do it anymore. The original cave complex was indeed closed to the public in 1963 when, the huge amount of visitors was causing, among other things, the growth of an algae on the cave walls that was damaging irreparably these precious paintings. Fungi continued to spread within the cave, and efforts to control these issues and protect the art still are ongoing. But in the early 1970s, in order to meet public demand, a replica of the 80% of the total paintings has been inaugurated at 200 metres from the original cave complex with the name Lascaux 2.
But the story of the Lascaux caves does not end here. In 2012, thanks to modern technologies, a traveling exhibition “Lascaux 3.0: The International Exhibition” has been created by Dordogne-Périgord Department and the Nouvelle Aquitaine Region to bring the Lascaux caves all over the world. The exhibition, combines technology, art and teaching, to enrich visitor experience and to transport them on a journey to the borders of time.
The inauguration of “Lascaux 3.0” exhibit at the Mann National Archaeological Museum of Naples represent indeed a unique chance to contemplate these marvellous archaic artworks and to full immerse yourself in the environmental and cultural context in which the caves were decorated almost 18 thousand years ago.
FROM 31ST JANUARY – 31 MAY 2020
MANN NATIONAL ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM OF NAPLES
For further info please visit the official website of the MANN