Suppose the cave paintings resulted from a drug-induced, ecstatic experience; much prep work was required. Paints had to be mixed, surfaces prepared and scaffolds built. In the Axial Gallery at Lascaux, the remains of post holes can be seen.
At Lascaux, the spacing of the animals in the Hall of the Bulls frieze was carefully laid out, requiring precise measurement. The art is highly stylized. In the Nave, a series of seven Ibex labeled "Futuristic" after the dynamic early 20th-century art movement featured multiple images in time. Artists executed the ibex panel with a similar intent.
In the first four images in the ibex series, only the neck, head and long horns are depicted; in the last three, only their horns and eyes. Is it meant as a herd or a single animal sweeping forward? There is a distinct sense of forward motion. Similar depictions may be seen in the rhinoceros panel at Chauvet dating back to the Aurignacian, 36,000 years.
Another series, in the same cave, the Frieze of the Stags, depicts the heads of five animals in motion, possibly swimming. The similar ears and glands have led some scholars to interpret them as a single individual in five successive poses into the ibex panel. However, the differing horn configurations suggest a herd was intended rather than a single individual. The artist clearly meant to articulate the difference.
These are artists trained in a tradition that would have required an apprenticeship. It speaks of organization and purpose. What purpose? We do not know.
We do know that these caves were used over a considerable period. Were they temples? Had these simple egalitarian groups an organized priesthood with painterly pretensions?