I visited the British Museum on an autumn afternoon a few years ago. The state of the ancient statuary struck me: most of these objects were scarred from their journeys through time. From small pockmarks to missing limbs, these statues had not escaped the passage of time unscathed.
I reflected on the original lives of these ancient objects, which were not originally crafted to adorn the halls of a museum. Many were sculpted for a very specific context, like the famous Elgin Marbles that were a part of the temple of the Parthenon. These objects had traveled from a hilltop in Athens to a gallery in London; I imagined their sea voyage from Greece to England over two hundred years ago.
I decided to go on a photo safari, a trick in my museum toolbox that helps me look at objects more closely. You simply pick a theme and focus on details found in artworks around that theme, with the aim of looking at everything differently. This visit’s theme was the ravages of time.
And so I present The Ravages of Time, as found in the British Museum:
Address: Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG, UK ∣ Opening hours: Daily from 10am to 5:30pm, open until 8:30pm on Fridays