Cave Painting Reproductions

by Jay Anderson
Forestville School

wall display of cave paintings
wall display of cave paintings
Click on image for larger view

Subject: Social Studies, Art

Grade: 6

Description: Students will individually create a reproduction of Cro-Magnon cave paintings, such as those found at Lascaux.

Objectives: Students will gain appreciation of the advanced Cro-Magnon culture represented by artistic depictions of the hunter-gatherer society. Students will broaden their concept of "cavemen" by discussing and attempting to duplicate the works of these ancient artists.

This project supports California History Standard 6.1 - "Students will describe what is known through archaeological studies of the early physical and cultural development of humankind from the Paleolithic era to the agricultural revolution."

This project supports California Art Standard 3.0 - "Students analyze the role and development of the visual arts in past and present cultures throughout the world, noting human diversity as it relates to the visual arts and artists."

This project supports California Art Standard 4.0 - "Students analyze, assess, and derive meaning from works of art, including their own, according to elements of art, principles of design, and aesthetic qualities."


Preparation: Cut paper bags in half creating two large flat pieces (no writing on one side)
Divide the chalk pieces into containers that can be easily shared and contain a variety of colors.

Time Needed: Approximately one hour


  1. Discuss the cave art of the Cro-Magnon people with the class. Show examples of the art form from text and art books. Point out techniques of form and shading. Ask students why the paintings included the particular subjects and themes. Ask what the purposes of the paintings were. Discussion should include good luck for hunts, attracting animals to the hunting grounds, pleasing the spirits, and beautifying the cave.
  2. Tell students they will be reproducing Cro-Magnon cave art, using techniques similar to what the Cro-Magnons used.
  3. G
  4. ive each student a piece of the brown paper and have them crumple the paper into a tight ball. Tell the students to hold the ball to their heart, close their eyes, and put their intentions into the ball of paper (i.e. good luck for a hunt, magic to draw animals into the area, offerings to please the spirits, or beauty to improve life in the cave).
  5. Have students open the paper and flatten it back into a sheet. Explain that this rough texture represents the rough cave walls and ceiling. Remind students that the cave people drew on the walls and ceiling, but not the floor. Tell them they must do the same, so they must tape the paper to a wall or the underside of a desk or table. They must stand, squat, or lay down while drawing - no sitting in chairs. Of course, mobility impaired students may be exempted from the no sitting rule.
  6. As students are taping their paper to a wall or underside of desks and tables, pass out the containers of colored chalk. It may help to have students work near each other and share the chalk.
  7. Give students adequate time to complete their cave art. Circulate and assist if needed.
  8. When complete, students should write their names on the back of the paper in pencil or pen.

Display: The finished product can be displayed individually, or mounted side by side on a wall to create a large scale scene. Stapling to a bulletin board can allow the teacher to create three-dimensional bulges reminiscent of rough cave walls.



© Deborah Padrick 2003