In November of 2009 I had the memorable and fascinating adventure of visiting the caves of Cantabria, Altamira Covalanas and Castillo in Northern Spain. One has to believe in a superior presence when embraced by paintings done thousands of years ago; man’s artistic aesthetic began with the creation of Adam and Eve.
With massive anticipation I went to see Werner Herzog’s documentary on the Chauvet cave discovered by three scientists in Southern France, 1994. “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” is so marvelous, incredulous, serenely sublime, I cried and thanked the power of man and God for this experience. This supreme shrine to the oldest of Paleolithic sites, approximately 35,000 years ago, is a miraculous technological feat. Filmed in 3-D the viewer is guided quietly, inspirationally through 1300 feet of magical wizardly; this cave buried for thousands of years, protected by traumatic shifts in the landscape is pristine; the paintings so fresh they could have been done today. The kingdom they depict: galloping horses, fighting rhinos, cave bears, bovine bison, anthropomorphic pairing of a woman and animal. Pulsating motion, eerily predicting Eadweard Muybridge’s (1830-1904) stop action photography.
Scientists, archaeologists, primarily Herzog explain with reverence the details of this miraculous discovery; the approximate height of the artist (6 feet), his artistic tools, weather conditions of the age, the weapons of survival. Mr. Herzog and his limited team of three accomplished this astonishing footage, working 4 hours a day over a 6 day period, never stepping off the two-foot- wide metal walkway that sinuously snakes through the cave. This is wonderment, titillating, enchanting entertainment, thrilling to one’s intellectual, imaginative core.
A.W. Tozer states ‘what comes into our minds when we think about God, is the most important thing about us”; throughout “Cave of Forgotten Dreams”, dreams unearthed, masterpieces left by an unknown artist, a beatific vision of a life lived, a monument, tombstone, now celebrated almost 40,000 years later; the embryo, source undefined, but emphatically divine.