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Tony Grist

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The Ashmolean [Aug. 2nd, 2013|09:31 am]
Tony Grist
I don't remember what the Ashmolean used to look like but it's recent prizewinning refit turns it into a generic early 21st century exhibition space- with as much natural light as can be mustered, a dramatic stairwell with glass at the top, and acres of white emulsion. It's the Future as the 1930s foresaw it. The collections, of course, are first rate- as if the British Museum and National Gallery had been mixed together and rendered down but without any loss of quality. The Arundel collection of classical marbles is tremendous (if you like that sort of thing) and there seems to have been a tradition of Oxford-trained archaeologists (Arthur Evans for instance) sending prize loot home to the Alma Mater. I counted two Titians, as many Tintorettos and a big gloomy Poussin of the Abandonment of Moses that requires close attention. (Poussin is the quietest, most poetic of painters). Uccello's Hunt by Night is rare and fabulous and one of the great paintings of the world. Judy says I'd have found a stuffed Dodo if I'd have looked hard enough, but we only had time to breeze round a couple of floors. The ground floor cafe serves excellent roast beef sandwiches.

ashmolean- Head of Siva

Head of Shiva, c. AD 400
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: porsupah
2013-08-02 10:45 am (UTC)
I must get along there sometime - I don't believe I've ever visited, and currently, I'm relatively easily positioned to get there. Not to mention Oxford has one or two worthwhile restaurants and pubs. =:)

Curation's quite an art. I was most impressed by how well Bath's Museum of East Asian Art was populated, despite not really being much more than a modestly sized house, typical of the town, in floor area. (Reminds me, I ought to dig up the photos from that trip - don't think I ever uploaded any. One stood out in particular, examining the incredibly fine carved calligraphy on a small block of marble)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-08-02 03:02 pm (UTC)
I like small museums. They're get-round-able. My favourite collection of Egyptian artefacts is in Manchester. It's excellently curated. It taught me more about life in ancient Egypt than I learned from visiting Cairo and Luxor and the Valley of the Kings.
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[User Picture]From: veronica_milvus
2013-08-02 12:56 pm (UTC)
Yet again you are in our neighbourhood and we did not get to meet! :(
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-08-02 02:50 pm (UTC)
Ach, yes!

One of these days....
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[User Picture]From: pondhopper
2013-08-02 02:41 pm (UTC)
It's been far too long since we've visited there. I think it's time to do something about that. Classical marbles are wonderful things.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-08-02 02:58 pm (UTC)
It's a world-class collection. I was greatly impressed.
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