I was prepared to sit and write about my day tonight. I am beginning to realize that my blog tends to embody a diary at times. Whenever I feel the need to rant or scream or cry or laugh or share some thrilling bit of news, I want to write about it.
However, tonight I will not tell you about my day not even a little bit. Instead, I will tell you about art. Because art feeds the soul, and the accounts and details of my day today certainly do not.
Some of the most soul feeding art that I have found lives in the British Museum. I have been to the British Museum twice, and I was so bummed upon my latest return to discover that there is still SO MUCH living in this museum that I have not yet seen.
I don’t believe people when they tell me that they don’t like art. Art can be anything. (Edit: I don’t fully understand how quite anything can be art, hint dadaism hint, though I do understand that everyone relates to various forms of art differently and so all art is, somewhere somehow, appreciated. And art to one person may not be art to another.) And so anybody can like (love) art. For some it might be film. For others it might be painting. Some people express themselves through art, and others prefer to be observers of art. Personally, ancient, historic art is the type of art that I will forever love to observe. Old things. Centuries-old things that have seen far more of the world and its history than I could ever dream of seeing. And the British Museum is full of these things.
You want to see ancient Greek sculptures and remnants of the Parthenon? British Museum. The Rosetta Stone? British Museum. A statue from Easter Island? British Museum. The Mummy of Katebet? British Museum. The list is endless, spanning from the Americas to Asia, from Ancient Greece to Ancient Egypt, from Mesopotamia to Medieval Europe. The first time I went I spent close to four hours in the museum and could have stayed another three days straight. I saw barely a fraction of the history contained within these walls.
Originally I was thrilled to be setting foot into this nearly 300-year-old establishment not only because is it old (remember how I loooove old things?) and in the heart of London, one of my favourite cities, but because it had been the main setting to the classic gem of a film Night at the Museum III (Secret of the Tomb). If you have not seen this movie, go watch it now. It is wonderful. If anything, you’ll chuckle at least once.
It would be impossible for me to share with you each individual glimpse and moment that made my eyes and heart twinkle as I roamed the museum’s rooms. But I will share two, that very probably will mean nothing to you.
The first was standing on the second floor after climbing huge stone steps and looking out to the center of the bones of the museum’s structure.
I wish that an image could translate to you the grandeur of such a place. I loved looking out over this space. Large spaces awe me. I cannot explain it in better words that that. I am awed by large, grand spaces, particularly when they are imbued with stories and life and history and tales ages old. People walking around also look like little ants crawling around, which is always fun, and there is a shot from NATM that shows this very view, and I would be lying if I said that I don’t think it’s super cool when you watch films and you point out “Hey, I’ve been there!”.
The second was happening upon wall paintings from the Tomb of Nebamun. A few years back I took an art history class that was, to this day, one of the most incredibly enriching classes I have taken. It inspired me and taught me and fueled me, and one of the pieces we studied was art from the Tomb of Nebamun. Nebamun was a wealthy scribe and accountant in ancient Egypt, and the wall paintings from his tomb are some of the most studied and famous from that era. Dating back to around 1350 BCE, this art taught us tons about ancient Egyptian life and about their art. It is also beautifully preserved. As an art history lover, to have studied a piece of art and then, years later, to have walked into a room in a museum and to stumble on the very same piece was magic. What an awesome moment.
I could babble on about art, about this museum, about one particular tiny piece of art left behind by someone hundreds and thousands of years ago for days and days. And even if you think art isn’t your cup of tea, I bet you could find one thing in there, or somewhere, that you would wish so hard you could just put in your pocket and take home to treasure.
And babbling on about art is much better than staying stuck on unpleasant thoughts about your day, isn’t it?
The British Museum is free. This is its website → http://www.britishmuseum.org/.
Whether your art is dancing or poetry or theatre or song or painting or sculpture or anything in between, allow it to feed your soul sometimes. It is refreshing.
And we all need a breath of fresh air once in a while.