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The Ice Age Art Show at the British Museum

The Ice Age Art show at the British Museum is meant to show a progression in history as works from ancient times are placed alongside modern pieces of art. However, sometimes this falls short of the overall goal, because the ice age pieces are true mysteries in themselves of an entirely different kind.

For instance, if you look at two nudes that were drawn by Matisse what you will see are some curvy women that are even possibly sexy. However, when you look at the ice age art what you see are eyeless faces, massive hips, and very saggy breasts. The two are hardly comparable.

On the other hand, while the human art form might not be the best example of ice art, there are some images that are bit more enjoyable. For example, the bison sculpture that is now almost 21,000 years ago still seems alive as do the horses and the mammoths. It is a bit of a wonder how artists could capture animals in such a positive light but choose to abstractly drawn humans.

The actual exhibit itself is called Arrival of the Modern Mind with a thesis behind it that art appeared out of the ice age and it was a clear sign that cognitive abilities were alive and well even tens of thousands of years ago.

After all, without full cognitive abilities there are no way that a primitive man could have drawn something as wonderful as the bison. This is perhaps the real joy of walking through the exhibit. Every piece leads to new questions and every question leads to more information.

Also intriguing is the fact that the ice age artists lived in a different time than other artists. Their animals are extinct, and they fault just to survive. This likely changed the way they created art as well.


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