The British Museum and the Ravages of Time

British Museum Statue

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:

British Museum Statue Woman Face
British Museum Statue Elgin Marbles Horses
British Museum Statue Woman
British Museum Statue
British Museum Statue Woman
British Museum Statue Horses Elgin Marbles
British Museum Statue Man Face

This is an installment of this month's creativity theme of VOYAGES. If you missed it, check out a description of the project here


The British Museum

AddressGreat Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG, UK ∣ Opening hours: Daily from 10am to 5:30pm, open until 8:30pm on Fridays