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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Defining Beauty at the British Museum: From a Child’s View

Greek art as seen through the eyes of a toddler: I took my nearly 3 year old to the Defining Beauty exhibition earlier this week.

Written by Amelia Gregory

Defining Beauty British Museum-statue
Earlier this week I dragged Snarfle down to the press preview of Defining Beauty, the new blockbuster exhibition from the British Museum. When we arrived the curator was giving a chat, a part I had hoped to avoid… but well, toddlers, it’s hard to get them moving, and the bus ride took forever. So we circumvented the first room, which showcased some stunning examples of Greek sculpture, including a bronze in near perfect condition that was apparently only recently dug out of the sea.

Defining Beauty British Museum-Gold Goddess Athena
Golden goddess Athena at the new British Museum exhibition.

I wasn’t sure how my penis obsessed little boy would react to loads of nude marble sculptures, so was prepared to give a whispered commentary on the state of the various body parts – intact or not – as we moved around the exhibition. Snarf was the youngest attendee by at least 30 years but perhaps surprisingly he was rather enraptured by many of the sculptures, including the gorgeous gold Athena and a wriggling bronze baby, beautifully captured holding it’s arms out to be picked up.

The exhibition includes depictions of the body on vases and reliefs, but it is the sculptures which really provoke awe. The rooms showcase Greek art through the ages, revealing how these skilled artisans became adept at making movement out of rock, an amazing feat if you think about it.

Defining Beauty British Museum-Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great. A flattering depiction I feel.

Towards the end we encountered the Laughing Boy, which Snarfle also loved. However when we got home and looked through the press kit he wanted to chop the Laughing Boy image up. ‘I liked it at the museum, but I don’t like the picture, it’s scary,’ he told me, scissors in hand. I have to agree, it did have a rather sinister edge.

A must see exhibition for anyone who loves classical art – there are a host of events associated with the show, including some fun sessions over Easter for kids. Find out more here. The exhibition continues until 5th July 2015.

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