Ice Age Art: Arrival of the Modern Mind

The oldest-known sculptures and drawings were made between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago and show artists experimenting with perspective, composition and abstraction

Most of the surviving sculptures and drawings from the period are fashioned from lasting materials such as mammoth ivory and reindeer antler. The works on show will be presented alongside modern pieces by Henry Moore, Mondrian and Matisse, in a celebration of the timeless human expressive urge.

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Highlights include a beautiful series of animals carved from bone and antler, ivory figurines of a 23,000-year-old 'Venus', and a replica of the famous 'Lion Man' sculpture that was found in the German Alps.

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.

Venue details

British Museum Great Russell Street London WC1B 3DG 020 7323 8299

Entry details

Free entry to all
50% off exhibitions with National Art Pass

Sat – Thu, 10am – 5.30pm
Fri, 10.30am – 8.30pm

Closed 24 – 26 Dec, 1 Jan

What the critics say


Not even Leonardo surpassed this


As you turn the corner in the British Museum’s Reading Room gallery, you find yourself face to face with a bison

  • Marek Kohn
  • FT


Prehistory – human life before written language - enters art’s mainstream with this seminal and eye-opening exhibition