When did the National Museum become so cool? I thought I’d been smacked in the head by the glassy bit of the British Museum when I stepped into the new annex today. Phwoar. I must say the exhibit I saw was well-served by the environs. Must visit the permanent exhibition the next time I’m in town.
Was there for the Greek marbles and vases currently on loan from the Louvre. Definitely worth a look! Learnt quite a bit, like how children weren’t highly regarded by them ancients, and so were dismissed as mini-adults in depictions. Felt as though I was stepping into a Penguin Classics exhibit too, what with Thucydides, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle-with-an-enormous-frontal-lobe, etc. all there. Here are some of my favourite bits:
- Hermes, Eurydice, Orpheus. The curator’s notes drew attention to the bitter entwining of arms by Eurydice and Orpheus, which set my imagination aflame. A great example of what curator’s notes should do, to my mind. Anyway, I thought Eurydice looked kinda pissed by Orpheus’ ultimate “doh” moment, much like Lot’s wife, only this time it’s his beloved that he’s condemned, not himself –why do folk turn back when they’re explicitly told not to?
- Aristophanes and Sophocles. Love how writers of comedy and tragedy are so inextricably entwined. A’s on the left and S’s on the right. I know cos one guy is smiling and the other one isn’t. 3-D art is fantastic that way. I guess the work also looks like conjoined twins! Say, have you ever read Lysistrata?
- Ares (that pesky god of berserker warfare). This guy was Aphrodite’s lover, and yup, he’s been endowed with all the hallmarks of such a one. Gotta check him out for yourself, man. I’ve conveniently left out the lower bits — I dunno, must be too prudish, but I still can’t stare admiringly at the fig-leafed bits on statues, no matter how ‘classical’.
The museum also has much-praised food (heard the brownies at the cafe are also fantastic, if that’s your thing) and is situated along what’s become a nice boulevard of campus concrete (namely, SMU’s). Catch it all before the Greeks leave Singapore!