Canaletto & The Art Of Venice, Queen’s Gallery

Adult Entry: £11
Nearest Tube: Victoria (District, Circle, and Victoria lines)

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If asked to name some of the great British collections of antiquities and art, you would probably start with the well-known national museums. What you probably wouldn’t start with, or indeed mention at all, is the Royal Collection. That’s right, the Queen has quite a collection of art and antiquities- she even has her own gallery. In fact, the Royal Collection includes some surprisingly famous pieces, for example the Crouching Aphrodite (Lely’s Venus); a star piece at the British Museum. Continue reading

Hokusai: Beyond the Great Wave

Adult Entry: £12
Nearest Tube: Holborn or Tottenham Court Road

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In the history of museum exhibitions, big names do well. Tutankhamen; The First Emperor (and his Terracotta Warriors); Pompeii. In that order they make up the most popular exhibitions ever hosted at the British Museum. With that in mind, the British Museum have rolled out another big hitter for the summer: Hokusai. Continue reading

Giacometti, Tate Modern

Adult Entry: £18.50
Nearest Tube: Blackfriars, District & Circle Lines

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It is very difficult to review the exhibition of an artist that you love. There is constant temptation to wax lyrical about the art itself rather than the exhibition, making an interesting essay but a poor review. I have tried to ignore the Giacometti’s ability to contain such potential energy with his static figures, or comment on the unrefined emotion straining from every angle of those unbearably human faces. Putting my (admittedly first-world) struggles to one side, imagine how high I set my expectations upon hearing of this Giacometti blockbuster exhibition at the Tate Modern.  Continue reading

Fear and Love at the Design Museum

Adult Entry: Exhibition £14
Nearest Tube: High Street Kensington, District & Circle Line

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Breaking: New Museum Opens In South Kensington! In other news; independent coffee shop opens between a Starbucks and a Costa. Casualties expected.

It takes guts for an upstart museum to shoulder its way into the territory of multiple very established institutions. How could the Design Museum compete with the collections housed at the V&A or NHM? Fortune, we are told, favours the bold, but perhaps it also favours the principled.
Continue reading

The Metropolitan Museum of Art II

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Lets move to our second case study: The Temple of Dendur. This temple was removed in its entirety from Egypt and brought to a specially created room in the Met, where it was faithfully reconstructed. It stands in a tranquil hall, one glass wall looking out onto Central Park, surrounded by a shallow canal. The room could not do a better job of inciting the grandeur and serenity of the original temple.

Do we interpret that the available space has improved the interpretation? Or perhaps only that the available space has increased the maximum quality achievable for that object. Continue reading

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Adult Entry: Suggested donation $25
Nearest subway:  86th Street, IRT Lexington Ave.

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I went on holiday to New York last month. This was pleasant for a number of reasons, among which was the chance to fulfill a long-delayed desire: to visit The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I have been to the museums in other major American cities, but sadly too long ago for me to review them with any clarity. This trip, therefore, provided an excellent opportunity for me to approach my visit critically and do some comparing with our British counterparts. Continue reading

Leighton House Museum

Adult Entry: £7
Nearest Tube: High Street Kensington

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Leighton House Museum is not a Museum. I imagine that they added the suffix in a bid to add gravitas to the site. Such machinations are cheap, and all the more irritating because the house stands perfectly well on its own merits. That said, let’s begin.

Leighton House is the former residence of the famous artist Frederic, Lord Leighton. It is an unusual property because it was purpose-built as a studio-house, and it remains unusual because it is the only one of this type in the UK to be open to the public. It sits amicably on a row of houses in Kensington, its mild redbrick facade hiding an arresting oriental palace inside. Continue reading