Ice Age Art: arrival of the modern mind

Discover masterpieces from the last Ice Age drawn from across Europe in this groundbreaking show. Created by artists with modern minds like our own, this is a unique opportunity to see the world's oldest known sculptures, drawings and portraits. Ice Age art was created between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago and many of the pieces are made of mammoth ivory and reindeer antler. They show skilful, practised artists experimenting with perspectives, scale, volumes, light and movement, as well as seeking knowledge through imagination, abstraction and illusion. These exceptional pieces are presented alongside modern works by Moore, Mondrian and Matisse, illustrating the fundamental human desire to communicate and make art as a way of understanding ourselves and our place in the world.
, 'Carving of swimming reindeer. Found at Montastruc, France,' ca. 11,000 BCE, British Museum

Carving of swimming reindeer. Found at Montastruc, France, ca. 11,000 BCE

British Museum

, 'Engraving of a horse; From Montastruc, France,' Palaeolithic, British Museum

Engraving of a horse; From Montastruc, France, Palaeolithic

British Museum

, 'Spear thrower made from reindeer antler, sculpted as a mammoth. Found in the rock shelter of Montastruc, France,' ca. 11,000 – 13,000 BCE, British Museum

Spear thrower made from reindeer antler, sculpted as a mammoth. Found in the rock shelter of Montastruc, France, ca. 11,000 – 13,000 BCE

British Museum

, 'Fragment of decorated metatarsal bone of a cervid, probably reindeer; From Madeleine, France,' Palaeolithic, British Museum

Fragment of decorated metatarsal bone of a cervid, probably reindeer; From Madeleine, France, Palaeolithic

British Museum

, 'Fragment of decorated reindeer metatarsal (bone) engraved on the obverse surface with two reindeer, one of which is now incomplete. Madeleine, France,' Palaeolithic, British Museum

Fragment of decorated reindeer metatarsal (bone) engraved on the obverse surface with two reindeer, one of which is now incomplete. Madeleine, France, Palaeolithic

British Museum

, 'Portraits of three reindeer and an Ibex; Found in Courbet Cave, France,' Late Magdalenian, ca. 12, 500 years ago, British Museum

Portraits of three reindeer and an Ibex; Found in Courbet Cave, France, Late Magdalenian, ca. 12, 500 years ago

British Museum