Defining Beauty: The body in ancient Greek art
The British Museum London, United Kingdom 2014–2015
Client: The British Museum
This exhibition, the third to be held in the British Museum’s new Sainsbury exhibition gallery, explored the Greek experience and its preoccupation with the human form. The exhibition presented over 150 objects, primarily from the Museum’s own collections, but also some significant loans, which enabled the story of classical Greek art to be told in a way that has rarely been possible before.
The works in the exhibition ranged from the abstract simplicity of prehistoric figurines to the striking realism in the age of Alexander the Great. The aim of the exhibition design was to present this amazing collection of objects in a way that sustained the curatorial narrative of the show, but also allowed the visitor to experience each masterpiece on its own, as a powerful artwork that remains affecting in the present day. The general light levels in the galleries were low, so that the carefully lit objects were the prime focus in the visitors’ experience.
The ten themes of the exhibition were laid out in six spaces defined by lightweight screens which make a setting for the groups of objects, but also allow the full scale of the new gallery to be understood, allowing for long vistas through the show. A palette of deep colours, taken from Pompeian interiors, form a backdrop to the marble and terracotta objects of exhibition.
London, United Kingdom
The British Museum
Caruso St John Architects
Adam Caruso, Peter St John