Led by Dr Niamh Bhalla, this tour will take you on a nuanced journey through some of the 'bad art' featured in the British Museum. The period of transition between classical antiquity and the middle ages has often been lamented as a time when the forms and beauty of Greco-Roman art declined and eventually disappeared. Many explanations have been suggested for the visible changes that took place in art, from a loss of skilled artists and expertise to a desire for a more symbolic spiritualising style as Christianity took over as the main religion of the Roman Empire with its powerful otherworldly focus.
However, many scholars have also noted that there was indeed 'bad art' throughout classical antiquity and have suggested that such tastes in art relate to class divide: people from the lower social classes are assumed to have commissioned art that wasn’t so polished in its style. This lecture will look at the art of Roman Britain which has often been judged inferior and overlooked in the study of classical art and the art of late antiquity itself to question how we can understand and even appreciate such examples of 'bad art'.
Tour runs from 6:30pm till 7:20pm. Meeting point is inside the British Museum, at the end of the long bench near the information desk.
The British Museum, Holborn
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