Ice Age Art: Arrival of the Modern Mind
The British Museum, London
7 February – 26 May 2013
Great Russell St, London WC1B 3DG
+44 20 7323 8299

This unique exhibition presents masterpieces of Ice Age sculpture, ceramics, drawing and personal ornaments from across Europe together for the first time in the UK. These include the oldest known ceramic figures in the world, as well as the oldest known portrait and figurative pieces, all of which were created over 20,000 years ago. These striking objects are presented as art rather than archaeological finds and will enable visitors to see the meaning of art made long ago by people with developed brains like our own.

These exceptional pieces will be presented alongside modern works by Henry 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. 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.

One of the most beautiful pieces in the exhibition is a 23,000-year-old sculpture of an abstract figure from Lespugue, France. Picasso was fascinated with this figure and it influenced his 1930s sculptural works.