Evolution and Creationism Put at Ends in ‘Finding Altamira’

Paint and coating products are a large market. In fact, in 2014, the U.S. exported $2.3 billion in paint and coatings alone. The uses of paint and coatings date back thousands of years, however, and one painting challenged the faith of an entire community.

Hugh Hudson chronicles the discovery of paleolithic-era cave paintings in northern Spain in 1879 in his newest film, Finding Altamira, starring Antonio Banderas as Marcelino de Sautuola. de Sautuola was an amateur archaeologist, who was led to the Cave of Altamira by his eight-year-old daughter. What was found there would change science and religion forever.

Cave paintings, which dated back thousands of years, were discovered inside Altamira, a 1,000-meter long tunnel, filled with images of bison, deer, goats, horses, as well as the hand prints of the artists themselves. The paintings appeared to date back before the creation of Adam and Eve, angering many clergymen and Christians worldwide. A dogmatic Monseñor (Rupert Everett), disputed de Sautuola’s claims publicly, causing great stress between the scientist and his wife, Conchita (Golshifteh Farahani).

de Sautuola’s acceptance of Darwinian principals put him at deep odds with his loving wife Conchita’s (Golshifteh Farahani) Catholic faith. Although she kept her faith throughout her life, she defended her husband, even after his passing.

Initially, de Sautuola was accused of forgery, due to the supreme quality of the paintings. It wasn’t until more cave paintings had been discovered in the early 20th century that he was believed. Unfortunately, he had passed away 14 years prior, and died before his reputation was resuscitated. Many now refer to the cave as “The Sistine Chapel of Prehistory.”

Even now, scientists are unable to pinpoint the exact year that the paintings were created. This discovery still causes great stress between the religious and scientific community, arguing whether they can coexist.

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