British Museum, Yet Again

British Museum, Yet Again

After a morning spent organizing and sorting out details, I made my way over to the British Museum for a quick visit before class. I ended up spending my time on only two artifacts, but it was time well spent. Today, I looked at the Rosetta Stone and an Easter Island Head.

I first examined the Easter Island statue. It was immense. Even though I have previously seen pictures of such statues, and even passed by this particular one to get to the Asian exhibits, it wasn't until I stopped and really looked at this statue at its feet that I realized how impressive and beautiful it is. It is so simple, yet elegant, without superfluous carvings or details. Just a timeless, simple stone face, watching for eternity. It also amazes me how little we know about these statues. They are famous around the world, yet no one has much, if any, information on their origin or meaning. It's so incredible knowing that this mystery just sits in front of us, a forgotten people with a forgotten culture.

The Rosetta Stone is another amazing relic, one that unlocked what could have been a mystery for ages, the secret of the Egyptian Hieroglyphics. This single slab of stone, marked in three languages and discovered by chance, was the key to understanding the Egyptians. In a world of “what ifs” where the Rosetta Stone remained buried and hidden, one can only imagine the frustration of the historians and archaeologists who could see and record the hieroglyphs, but could never understand their meaning. Another whole civilization would have been lost in the sea of time, leaving only the monuments and tombs as a beacon of their existence.

It's always interesting to reflect on our own time after seeing these incredible relics. What will survive of us? Thousands of years from now, what will the relics be? Will the generations that follow us be amazed by the primitive communication devices we carry? Will the iPhone sit in a glass case for viewing? Or will it be something else? Perhaps a Twinkie, still wrapped in its plastic? (…or perhaps not anymore, in light of Hostess closing down.) No matter what the object is, it would be interesting to see what little pieces of our modern world survive.

 

Easter Island Statue

 

The Rosetta Stone

 

Detail of the Rosetta Stone

 

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Visiting the British Museum

Visiting the British Museum

Today, I decided to pay a visit to an old friend, one we haven't seen in awhile, The British Museum.

I made the Southeast Asia collections my focus for this visit. The British Museum has some phenomenal religious artifacts, especially in regards to their collection of Buddhist works. I roamed the exhibits, trying to capture the beauty and grandeur of these ancient pieces. They were all so incredible and interesting. It was an absolute treat to explore this section of the museum and to rediscover the grandness of the British Museum. Pictures below…

 

Ivory Buddha

 

Ravana, a demon from Hindu mythology

 

Shiva

 

Stone Buddha Image

Large Stone Buddha

 

Amazing Drawing Studies At the British Museum

Amazing Drawing Studies At the British Museum

Today for art history class, we climbed all the way up to the fourth floor of the British Museum to enter the Print and Drawing Study Room. It houses some amazing materials, and you need to register to enter. After some brief signing-in and rules explanation (including no cameras, which saddened me greatly…) we were ushered into the large room.

 

It was a large room filled with volumes and large folios. Immense wooden desks with easels lay ready for the invaluable drawings and other works to be placed upon them for closer examination. The smell of old ink and paper, better than the best library, permeated the air. The quiet, still air lent an atmosphere of near-reverence to the room. It was almost as if one could feel the weight of the historical treasures that surrounded us.

 

Our course today focused on the evolution of commission drawings. We started with early works, including some stock drawings by Benozzo Gozzoli, which were designed to be placed cookie-cutter-style into commission drawings, creating a fairly standardized picture. The pieces at the end, by artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo were much more fluid and sketchlike, allowing the artist to craft a scene creatively, rather than dropping in stock pieces.

 

It was incredible and surreal to be mere inches from works from the Renaissance masters. This class has been an incredible experience so far. Not only do we get to see magificent works by famous artists all the time, but I am also learning so much about what to look for in art. I am learning so much new information about everything, and I am loving it!

Image

Gozzoli (c. 1450)

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da Vinci, (c.1470)

ImageMichelangelo (c. 1508-1512)

Reference drawing for Sistine Chapel's Creation of Man

 

 

The Wonderful Walk to School

The Wonderful Walk to School

It never fails to amaze me how incredible it is to be going to school in the heart of London. My daily walk to the teaching site seems designed to make sure I stay impressed. I get off of the bus at Museum Street and walk directly north to Great Russell Street. As I turn onto Great Russell Street, I am greeted with the sight of the majestic British Museum. It's impossible not be impressed by its immense size and incredible architecture. I continue walking down Great Russell Street, a wonderful road lined with shops, restaurants, and miniature museums all encased in beautiful and old buildings until I reach number 99. This is the teaching site, and even it astonishes me daily. It is housed in an ornate historical building, and has a massive mural lining its ceiling in the entrance foyer. It is absolutely incredible to see all these amazing sights and it boggles my mind that this is my daily routine.

 

The British Museum is One Block Away

 

 

Great Russell Street

 

The Teaching Site, #99

 

Just Inside the Front Door

 

Another Pleasant Day

Another Pleasant Day

Today was another ordinary, exciting day here in London. It was routine, but routine in this city is rife with little surprises and twists. I slept in pretty late today, as we've been really busy this week and I was pretty exhausted. I woke up, had breakfast, and went to the YMCA to work out.

On that note, I am, as of a few days ago, an OFFICIAL student member with full access to all classes and facilities! There are a huge range of classes, and I'm starting out next week with a free session with a trainer, as well as yoga and kettlebell classes. In addition, I am training on Thursdays and Sundays with the swim club, and on Tuesday evenings with a triathlon/distance swimming group. Between the classes, clubs, and my regular training regimen (including exhilarating runs on the Thames, which is surreal to think is real life), I should get in even better shape! Check out my fancy new YMCA card below!

Beautifully Blue YMCA Card

 

The YMCA was followed by a trip to the British Museum to study and explore. It was immense and totally mind-bogglingly amazing. Highlight of the day? A carved crystal skull from South America. Originally thought to be an exquisite Aztec specimen, it was proved a fake by microscopic analysis that showed use of tools that post-dated by the Aztecs by a few hundred years. Fake or not, it was a beautiful specimen, and brought to mind Indiana Jones and that adventuresome theme song. (Which, incidentally, is my alarm clock song…)

Cue the Indiana Jones Theme…

After puttering around the British Museum for a fair amount of time, I made my way down the street to Mr. Brainwash's art exhibition. This was the exhibition I visited earlier in my adventuring. Mr. Brainwash, I learned after some research, was a prominent follower of the famed graffiti artist, Banksy, and part of the film Exit Through The Gift Shop. The show, with its playful twists on classic pieces, was amusing and thought-provoking as before.

John & Yoko, With a New Message

I returned home on the bus (which I actually love riding) and cooked a supper of Carribean-style rice and beans. It was extremely filling and so very flavorful! I'm learning so much more about cooking and manipulating different types of food. It's an adventure within this big London adventure.

After dinner, we went to the Last Night of the Proms, broadcast in 3D to a nearby cinema. It was a beautiful production, filled with amazing music and a uniquely British style of patriotism. The 3D was quite nicely done and the production was incredible for being streamed live. The music was spectacular, especially two younger virtuosos, one on the violin and the other a terrific tenor opera singer. The enthusiasm and patriotism were infectious, leaving me humming Rule, Brittania all the way home.

Even the Cinemas Are Gorgeous

 

I came home and Skyped my parents and Emily. It was so nice to just chat for awhile and be reminded of all the treasures that lie back home. And now, onward to sleep!

 

The British Museum: The First Foray

The British Museum: The First Foray

Post-sushi lunch, we (Claire, Hannah, and I) had some time before our next class. We decided to adventure to the British Museum and try to see the Egyptian Wing a little. It was an incredible experience, and I could (and hopefully will) spend hours looking at every amazing detail of the vast halls of treasures. There are literally thousands upon thousands of amazing pieces, any of which could hold a place of honor in a museum back home. Though this trip was brief, it awakened my hunger to see all of the amazing things the British Museum has to offer. Enjoy the small set of pictures below, and I promise to take more with each visit.