Even though I did not actually have museum class this week because of the strike, I decided to go on ahead and go the museum by myself! This weeks museum was The Tate Britain. The Tate Britain is a museum dedicated to artists from England and the work they have created. The museum is set up in a really interesting way with the years of the works in gold on the floor before you walk in to a gallery. They progress upwards from the time of the Tudors to modern artists living in England today. I’ve never been to a museum that makes it so easy to see the journey through time you are going on, so I enjoyed that immensely. I could easily see the progression through time in the artwork as well, and tried to guess the year of some of the rooms before checking the floor to see if I was right. Needless to say I was never right.
The Tate Britain had a different narrative to me about the country of England than other institutions like the National Portrait Gallery. This museum seemed to be celebrating the artistic culture of Britain and how all of their historical events could be captured through art. Whereas something like the National Portrait Gallery was very obviously an in your face nationalistic narrative, showcasing the power of Britain as a nation in the world. The best example in the Tate were the many Shakespeare inspired pieces, such as the iconic Ophelia. This painting is one that has popped up many times throughout my academic career, and embodies the importance of Shakespeare in art and society to me.
As you continue through the museum you stray away from the classic portraits of kings and queens, and to some very modern art. The modern section is not as extensive as the Tate Modern, which I will be visiting next week, but still had a great deal of interesting pieces. Some of the ones that stood out to me were paintings created during or about World War II. London was hit especially hard during that time, and the art work reflects it.
This is a bomb falling into the water near the city. I was drawn to the colors of it and how light the background is even though it is depicting such a dark event. Once you get through the rooms of the 1940s, you continue on to even more contemporary art. This included sculptures and walk through exhibits with sounds and images that are a bit hard to describe, but were interesting to see nonetheless.
From where I live, the Tate Britain was one of the furthest museums I have been to so far, but it is very close to Westminster Abbey, so if you’re going to be in that area I would recommend taking a walk through, it’s a great place to get a really comprehensive insight to British history.