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Our #RodinExhibition is now open! The show displays the French sculptor’s iconic works side by side with the ancient Greek art that he loved. Be inspired by the stunning sculpture on display and share your photos of the exhibition with us using #RodinExhibition and we’ll regram our favourites – we love seeing your pictures! Find out more and book tickets via the link in our bio.
Sponsored by Bank of America Merrill Lynch
#Rodin #AncientGreece #AncientGreek #sculpture #statues #AugusteRodin #exhibition #London #BritishMuseum

Violent, atmospheric seascapes were one of Turner’s most prolific subjects. Here the raging sea claims a shipwreck while passengers escape on lifeboats through the white spray, towards the danger of another jagged rock. When this piece was exhibited in 1823, Turner was praised for ‘the chaotic & destructive character’ of this work. There’s no evidence that this scene was based on an actual shipwreck, and Turner often created imaginary compositions for artistic effect. #JMWTurner #Turner #watercolour #seascape #shipwreck #painting #painter #art #19thcentury

In 1819, J M W Turner travelled to Italy, arriving in Rome in late October. He filled over 12 sketchbooks while he was there, making studies of the ancient city in his lodgings during the evenings. He created compositional studies suggesting colour, atmosphere and mood, and returned home to complete works based on his journey. This wonderful watercolour was painted in 1820 and shows a flock of sheep outside the Colosseum – have you ever visited this Roman landmark? #JMWTurner #Turner #watercolour #Colosseum #Rome #painting #painter #art #19thcentury

J M W Turner was born #onthisday in 1775. In this dramatic watercolour from 1829, Turner depicts how his coach ‘zizd into a ditch’ while he was travelling home from Italy during a snowy January! After this dramatic event in the cold and wet, Turner swore he would never again return home so deep into winter. He memorialised the experience in this large watercolour and wrote letters to his friends to tell them of his ordeal! The artist has also painted himself into this scene – can you find him? #JMWTurner #Turner #watercolour #Alps #painting #painter #art #19thcentury

‘I know I have the body but of a weak, feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king’ – Queen Elizabeth I, 1588.
As a ruler, Elizabeth understood the power of propaganda and the need to manipulate her own image. She identified herself with her people, making a strength out of what was then considered a weakness. In this jewel from the 1570s she is compared with the phoenix who, according to legend, was consumed by flames and then rose out of its own ashes to live once more. This object was acquired by Sir Hans Sloane and became part of the British Museum’s original collection nearly 200 years after it was made – it’s on display in Room 46. #ElizabethI #QueenElizabeth #Elizabethan #jewel #jewellery #HansSloane #BritishMuseum #London #UK #England

Maria Sibylla Merian was a trailblazing artist and naturalist who produced stunningly detailed paintings and drawings of flora and fauna in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. She travelled to Surinam in South America in 1699 to record what she saw in beautiful pages like this showing the life cycle of two moths. They’re Giant silk moths (Arsenura armida) which live from Mexico to southern Brazil – the larvae shown here are of a different species. Collector and physician Sir Hans Sloane collected a huge body of Merian’s work and it became part of the original collection of the British Museum upon his death in 1753. You can see examples of Merian’s work in the Enlightenment Gallery (Room 1). #MariaSibyllaMerian #MariaMerian #art #science #naturalist #watercolour #drawing #silkmoth #BritishMuseum #London #HansSloane #Sloane

This detailed brass instrument is the largest English astrolabe to have survived from the Middle Ages. Astrolabes – Greek for ‘star taker’ – are used to navigate, keep time and cast horoscopes. This one is over 46cm across and was made in around 1300. Instruments like this were some of the most sophisticated available to people in the Middle Ages, having initially been developed over 2,000 years ago in ancient Greece. Knowledge of the skies, now called astronomy, was an important aspect of Islamic culture from the earliest of times. Muslim astronomers, driven by the need to determine prayer times and the direction of Mecca, developed and refined scientific instruments like the astrolabe from the 7th century AD onwards. This beautifully decorated astrolabe was part of Sir Hans Sloane’s collection which became the foundation of the British Museum in the mid-18th century. Sloane was born #onthisday in 1660. #astrolabe #otd #HansSloane #BritishMuseum #Museum #London #collection #horoscopes

Rembrandt is considered one of the masters of his day, able to convey tender moments and tough characters with equal confidence. While contemporary artists idealised the world in their art, Rembrandt’s prints and drawings reveal he was fascinated with depicting reality – and his representations of women show how he rejected the artistic conventions of the day. This chalk drawing and etching both show Diana (goddess of the hunt) in a private moment, and were clearly drawn from a live model. Diana was normally portrayed as the epitome of unattainable female beauty, but this lifelike depiction with wrinkles and dimples suggests Rembrandt is blurring the boundaries between myths and reality.
Curator Olenka Horbatsch explains how Rembrandt’s naturalistic depictions of women caused controversy in the 17th century – watch the video via the link in our bio. #Rembrandt #drawing #etching #artist #art #Diana #goddess #mythology #representation #myth

Sapphires, diamonds and pearls are all familiar gemstones, but in medieval Europe valuable jewellery could also be inlaid with ‘toadstones’!
This 16th-century ring features one of these enigmatic gems. It was originally thought the stones were carried in the heads of toads, and would ‘be thrown out of the mouth if the creature was placed upon a piece of red cloth’. They were worn to protect the owner from kidney stones, to protect newborn babies and to identify poison. In fact, the toadstone isn’t connected to toads at all – it’s the fossilised tooth of a fish, Lepidotus maximus.
Discover beautiful medieval jewellery and the symbolic properties of gemstones with Curator Naomi Speakman – watch the video via the link in our bio! #jewellery #Medieval #MedievalHistory #rings #gemstones #gems #jewelry #toadstone #Europe #BritishMuseum #London

These ancient cuneiform tablets contain tales of smuggling and contraband – even explaining how traders’ goods were to be ‘concealed in their underwear’ to avoid taxes! Around 4,000 years old, they detail messages of trade between the kingdom of Kanesh (in modern-day Turkey) and the city-state of Ashur (in modern-day Iraq). The ‘narrow track’ was a treacherous smuggling route between the two places that was used to avoid taxes along authorised routes. It was an arduous journey that exposed traders to wild beasts, highway thieves and harsh mountain weather.
Mathilde Touillon-Ricci deciphers more cuneiform tablets used by businesspeople to talk trade in ancient Assyria – follow the link in our bio for the full YouTube playlist. #cuneiform #Assyria #AncientAssyria #AncientHistory #archaeology #BritishMuseum #Iraq #Turkey

Notes from this silver lyre rung out in Ur in Mesopotamia (now in modern-day southern Iraq) over 4,000 years ago. It’s made of lavishly decorated silver and red limestone. The frame, tuners and strings are modern reproductions made from casts of the long-decayed wooden parts. Below the bull’s head are decorated panels depicting fallow deer and a tree on a hill, lions attacking a goat, and a lion attacking a gazelle. Music accompanied many celebratory and ritual occasions in ancient Mesopotamia.
You can experience a diverse range of musical performances during our upcoming #BMmusicfestival, starting 16 April. To celebrate the occasion, our curators have picked 15 instruments from across time and around the world in our new blog post – link in bio. #BritishMuseum #MusicFestival #AncientHistory #Mesopotamia #lyre #silver #music #ClassicalMusic

Trumpets like this beautifully inlaid example were used in Buddhist temples across Asia, blown to call monks to services, and were usually decorated with textile streamers. This one is around 44cm long and is made from a conch shell, decorated with gilt-copper and semi-precious stones. A very lively dragon stands in contrast against the background of clouds indicated by the blue lapis lazuli, and its body inlaid with coral and other semi-precious stones.
The Museum is getting musical in our first major #BMmusicfestival, and our curators have chosen an ensemble of 15 instruments from around the world in our new blog post – see them all via the link in our bio. #BritishMuseum #trumpet #Tibet #Buddhism #Buddhist #shell #music #MusicFestival #ClassicalMusic

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