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British Museum - exhibitions for 2015

The British Museum

2015 Preview

THE British Museum has announced its exhibitions for 2015 and they include:

Defining beauty: the body in ancient Greek art – in The Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery from March 6 to June 22.

For over 2,000 years, the Greeks experimented with representing the human body. From the pre-historic simplicity of Cycladic figurines to the realism of the Hellenistic age, Greek craftsmen gave form to thought in a rich harvest of artworks through which the human condition was explored and interpreted.

This exhibition examines Greek interest in human character as well as sexual and social identity. In athletics, the male body was displayed as if it were a living sculpture, and victors were commemorated by actual statues.

In art, not only were mortal men and women represented, but also the gods and other beings of myth and the supernatural world. They were either conceived in the image of humankind or in monstrous combinations of human and animal form.

Indigenous Australia: enduring civilisation – in Room 35 from April 23 to August 2.

This major exhibition will present a history of Indigenous Australia through objects for the first time in the UK. Drawing on objects from the British Museum’s collection, supported by loans from Australia, the show will highlight the continuous culture of Indigenous Australia dating back 55,000 years.

Indigenous Australian objects reflect a complex spiritual relationship to the natural world and an intimate knowledge of diverse environments. The objects derive from some of the earliest contact between Indigenous Australians and outsiders and represent significant cultural encounters in or near places that are today major Australian cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

The exhibition also reflects on the history of collecting these objects and contemporary Indigenous responses to them.

Celts (title to be confirmed) – in The Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery from September 24 to January 31, 2016.

This will be the first major exhibition of Celtic art in Britain in 40 years. It will draw on the latest research on the Celts in Britain, Ireland and Western Europe and explore the long history of Celtic art and what the object tells us about the people who made and used them.

‘Celts’ and ‘Celtic Art’ are terms which are widely used in many different contexts. They do not all relate to the same thing – and in particular, they do not relate to any single people or culture. This exhibition will explore how making and using Celtic art has shaped identities from the Iron Age through to the Medieval period, and how these powerful objects and styles have continued to play a role in creating modern Celtic identities in Britain.

The first Celtic art in Britain is part of a clear western and central European tradition, but it is also distinctly British. Later, the art helped define new complex and shifting Celtic identities in Britain that were neither Roman nor Anglo Saxon/English.

The rediscovery of the ancient artistic tradition in the 18th and 19th centuries played a key role in creating new images of the Celts. These new descriptions by artists and politicians helped define what it meant to be Irish, Scottish and British. This artistic tradition and the objects it produced have always been intimately linked with questions around the Celtic peoples who made these objects.

Three religions on the Nile (title to be confirmed) – in Room 35 from October 29 to February 14, 2016.

During the First Millennium AD the dominant religion of Egypt changed from ‘pagan’ to Christian, and then from Christian to Mulslim, reflecting changes in the ruling elite. Vibrant Jewish communities were active in Egypt throughout the time period covered by the exhibition and some key developments in Judaism took place in Egypt.

The legacy of Egypt’s religious past is reflected in the architectural, archaeological, artistic and political landscape of the country today. Due to its arid climate, Egypt preserves a range and abundance of evidence providing unique insights into the emergence and establishment of new religions, their relationship to each other and the ‘pagan’ past.

British Museum, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG