Ice Age art
arrival of
the modern

Now until 2 June 2013
Advance tickets sold out

Limited walk-up tickets available on the day

Henry Moore Foundation logo

Recommend this exhibition

About the exhibition

An exhibition 40,000 years
in the making.

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.

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.

Although an astonishing amount of time divides us from these Ice Age artists, such evocative pieces show that creativity and expression have remained remarkably similar across thousands of years.

Read the reviews

“Not even Leonardo surpassed this”
The Guardian
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“I can’t remember the last time I saw a show with so many rare and beautiful objects”
The Telegraph
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“The exhibition everyone should see”
The Times
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Explore the object themes

Find out more about objects and themes from the exhibition 

The female gaze

Curator Jill Cook and artist Ghislaine Howard explore representations of the female form in Ice Age and contemporary art.

Opening event

At the private view, Antony Gormley, artist and Trustee of the British Museum, introduces 'the contemporary minds of 40,000 years ago'.

Masterpieces from the last Ice Age

See the world's oldest known sculptures, drawings and portraits