A polychrome cave painting consists of two or more colours, as exemplified by the glorious multi-coloured images of bison on the ceiling at Altamira, or the magnificent aurochs in the Chamber of the Bulls at Lascaux.
In contrast, the term "cave drawing" refers (strictly speaking) only to an engraved drawing - that is, one made by cutting lines in the rock surface with a flint or stone tool, rather than one made by drawing lines with charcoal or manganese.
The 17,000-year-old painting are rendered with great skill, incorporating the contours of the caves and displaying some of the first known use of perspective, a technique that was not rediscovered until the Golden Age of Greece, as well as shadowing, highlighting, stenciling, and Pointillism.
The artists used powdered colors, brushes and stumping clothes and spit pigment out of their mouth.
Inside the Chauvet grotto, they found a 400-metre long network of galleries and rooms, covered in rock art and petroglyphs, whose floor was littered with a variety of paleontological remains, including the skulls of bears and two wolves.
Some of these bones had been arranged in special position by the previous human inhabitants.
Slowly but surely, the mysterious and haunting Chauvet cave is giving up its secrets.
Did Stone Age Painters Make Preliminary Sketches?
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.
A monochrome cave painting is a picture made with only one colour (usually black) - see, for instance, the monochrome images at Chauvet.
Now, scientists have assembled more than 250 radiocarbon dates made from rock art samples, animal bones and the remains of charcoal used by humans scattered on the ground to create the most accurate timeline yet of who used the cave and when.
The Chauvet Cave, a vast Paleolithic cave dating back more than 36,000 years ago, was selected on Sunday as a UNESCO World Heritage site.