Lascaux 4, larger than life!
Closed to the public since 1963 for conservation purposes, the Lascaux cave was entirely reconstructed in a building dedicated to parietal art. The reproduction, located in Montignac in Dordogne, lets visitors experience the cave in the same conditions as when it was discovered in 1940. A marvel of human and technological advancement! Darkness, humidity, muffled sounds, reproductions of the cave paintings - everything has been reconstructed to match the original. Lascaux is as famous for its many cave paintings as it is for its fragility and the threats to its conservation.
The cave was mapped using a laser: 50,000 ultra-high-definition photographs were taken. The cloud of points captured by the laser enabled a high fidelity 3D model of the cave to be created, a faithful reproduction that was then "dressed" using the photos. The model was then used as a reference for building the replica.
First cut into sections, the 3D model was then machined on polyester blocks. Two panels were then made: one from an elastomer and another from fibreglass. A mixture of acrylic and mineral dust was used to create the rock texture that gave the model its finished appearance.
These were all parts of a puzzle that was then assembled. Each section of the ceiling, and its paintings, was then connected to the lower part. Finally, using images of the paintings projected onto the sections, the parietal art was traced onto the walls using only natural pigments.
Inaugurated on 15 December 2016, the reproduction required three years of work, 680 frescos, 500 m² of frescos to reconstruct the entire cave down to the last millimetre. The new building cost 57 million Euros and was funded by the Aquitaine region, the General Council of the Dordogne, the European Union and the site's operator.
Over 400,000 visitors are expected: it is one of the world's most famous prehistoric sites. The richness and diversity of its paintings made its reputation.
From 1 November 2016 to 19 February 2017, the "Lascaux International Exhibition" settled in Japan's National Museum of Nature and Science, in Tokyo's famous Ueno park. When Lascaux touched down on Japanese soil, over a million visitors had had a chance to marvel at the exhibition in North America and Europe, and most recently in South Korea where it will remain until September 2017.
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