Ever wonder what art was like in the Ice Age? A new exhibit at London's British Museum features a collection of the world's oldest known sculptures, drawings and portraits, created by some of the earliest professional craftsmen nearly 40,000 years ago. Titled "Ice Age Art: The Arrival of the Modern Mind," the array of artifacts presents the first figurative art produced in Europe during this evolutionary time.
Amongst the Ice Age-era items is a 32,000-year-old carving of a lion-headed man, a 14,000-year-old "hyper-real" landscape, and a 26,000-year-old portrait of a woman's head crafted onto a thumb-sized piece of Ivory.
"Most people looking at art are looking at the five minutes to midnight -– the art of the last 500 years," British Museum curator Jill Cook explained to The Guardian. "We have been used to separating work like this off by that horrible word 'prehistory'. It's a word that tends to bring the shutters down, but this is the deep history of us."
Prehistoric rock paintings of human hands and animals in red black and orange dated anywhere between 13,000 and 9,500 years old. Found in "Cave of the Hands" in Argentina.
This May 2012 photo provided by Bryce Barker shows Aboriginal rock art in a cave in the Australian Outback. University of Southern Queensland archaeologist Bryce Barker said Monday, June 18, 2012 that tests show the Aboriginal rock art in the cave was made 28,000 years ago, making it the oldest in Australia and among the oldest in the world. (AP Photo/Bryce Barker) EDITORIAL USE ONLY
ZIMBABWE Matopos Hills Detail of prehistoric cave painting.
Rock art paintings of animals at Christmas cave in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.
Fresco of two women in a cave on the side of a Hindu hill temple fort in Sri Lanka.
This undated photo provided by the Pech Merle Prehistory Center shows a cave painting of pair of spotted horses, found in the Pech Merle Cave in Cabrerets, southern France. Scientists estimate the drawing, measuring about 4 meters wide by 1.5 meters high, is about 25,000 years old. An ancient DNA study found that Ice Age artists drew horses based on their observations rather than imagination. (AP Photo/Center for Prehistory of Pech Merle, P. Cabrol) MANDATORY CREDIT; NO SALES
Photo of a replica of a wall painting of the prehistoric Lascaux cave taken on September 11, 2010 in Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil, near Lascaux, southwestern France. The Lascaux cave has been closed to the public since 1963 to prevent deterioration of the art caused by humidity and warmth from visitors. A visitors' centre has been built outside the cave, with replicas of the painted chambers, and receives around 300,000 tourists each year. AFP PHOTO LIONEL BONAVENTURE (Photo credit should read LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images)
A horse is pictured in the caves of Cresswell Crags, near Worksop in Nottinghamshire, what is believed to be the first Ice Age cave art found in Britain. Dr Paul Pettitt made the initial discovery of the 12,000 year old engravings in the caves in April 2003.
Pictographs give evidence of religious ceremonies, dating back 1,000 years, by both Chumash and Yokut Indians at the sacred Painted Rock in the Carrizo Plain National Monument, May 31, 2001. President Bill Clinton established the national monument in his final days in office to save the last large remnant of the aboriginal ocean of grassland that once covered central California. In late March, President George W. Bush announced his intention to review the Carrizo with an eye toward opening the monument to oil exploration. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
Cave Painting by Bushmen in Namibia.
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French dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied, best known for a role alongside his future wife Natalie Portman in the film 'Black Swan', poses on January 24, 2013 at the Garnier Opera in Paris. Millepied was appointed today dance director at the Paris Opera. The 35-year-old, who began his career at the New York City Ballet where he quickly rose to become a principal dancer in 2002, will replace Brigitte Lefevre at the prestigious Paris establishment in October 2014, the opera said. (LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images)
Hundreds Of Lost William Blake Engravings Discovered In The UK: Researchers at the University of Manchester have discovered 350 engraved plates designed by poet and artist William Blake. The find comes after the research team, led by art historian Colin Todd, spent two years of searching through over one million of the institute's books, records and artworks. The engravings will be on display next month at the university's library. (The Independent)
Theatre-Atelier Piotr Fomenko Begins First American Tour Since Founder's Death: The Moscow theater company, Theatre-Atelier Piotr Fomenko, began its new American tour last week at Manhattan's Baryshinikov Arts Center. It was the first performance held in the US since Piotr Fomenko's death last year at the age of 80. “It’s very difficult without him,” said Alexey Kolubkov, a company member since 2001, to the Boston Globe. “He wasn’t just a teacher. He wasn’t just a leader. He was more of a protector.” (The Boston Globe)
A file picture taken on December 13, 2007 shows Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) as he presents an award to theater director Piotr Fomenko at the Kremlin in Moscow. One of the most famous directors of the Russian theater, Piotr Fomenko, died on August 9, 2012 in Moscow at the age of 80. (YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/GettyImages)