I have just had a Damascus moment. The scales have fallen from my eyes. I have seen the light. The British Museum (left) is unquestionably the greatest cultural institution on earth. We all know this, but how many of us fully appreciate it until we cross the threshold and enter its beautiful, spacious and subtly illuminated galleries containing a multitude of numinous art and artefacts representing the zenith of human creativity.
What few people realise is that the multitude of objects that make up the British Museum’s collections (which date from darkest antiquity to the present day), can only be properly appreciated in this context, in this very museum, right here in Bloomsbury, London.
Take, for example, the colossal Assyrian winged bulls (right), the beauty and power of which can only be fully comprehended when juxtaposed with an excruciatingly poetic marble nude from the High Classical period of ancient Greece. Similarly, how could we possibly assimilate into our enfeebled twenty-first century minds the grace and charm of the Greek contrapposto without seeing it in proximity to the stiffly marching figures of Ancient Egypt in the adjacent gallery? These objects speak to each other, and to us, with startling lucidity.
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