At first, Stone Age artists painted predator animals (lions, rhinoceroses, sabre-toothed felines, bears) almost as often as game animals like bison and reindeer, but from the Solutrean era onwards imagery was dominated by game animals.Pictures of humans were an exceptionally rare occurrence, and were usually highly stylized and far less naturalistic than the animal figures.
One theory links the evolution of Stone Age art to the arrival of anatomically modern humans in Europe during the period of the Upper Paleolithic.
(Animal paintings at the site were dated to 33,400 BCE.) Next in age comes the Fumane Cave pictures (c.35,000 BCE), then two claviform symbols found at Altamira, dated 34,000 BCE.
The next oldest paintings are those in Chauvet Cave, situated in the Ardeche region of France.
The largest cave clusters are in the Dordogne (Lascaux, Cussac, Laussel, Font-de-Gaume, Les Combarelles, Rouffignac), and around Monte Castillo in the district of Puente Viesgo, Cantabria, but other magnificently decorated caves have been found in various parts of the world - including South Africa, Argentina, India, China, Australia and elsewhere.
At present, the earliest art in prehistoric caves, whose dates of origin have been authenticated by radiocarbon dating, consists of abstract signs - namely a red dot and a hand print - found among the El Castillo cave paintings in Cantabria, Spain.
What Was the Purpose of These Cave Paintings? Famous Caves - France and Spain - Rest of Europe - India - South Africa - Namibia - Australia - Argentina - SE Asia In prehistoric art, the term "cave painting" encompasses any parietal art which involves the application of colour pigments on the walls, floors or ceilings of ancient rock shelters.