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Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery – Virtual Tour

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery – Virtual Tour

The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is a museum and art gallery with a collection covering fine art, ceramics, metalwork, jewelry, natural history, archaeology, ethnography, local history, and industrial history.

Entrance to the Museum and Art Gallery is free, but some exhibitions in the Gas Hall incur an entrance fee.

The main entrance is located in Chamberlain Square below the clock-tower known locally as “Big Brum.”

The entrance hall memorial reads: “By the gains of Industry we promote Art”.

A Virtual Tour of the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Highlights of the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

The Finding of the Savior in the Temple” by William Holman Hunt

“The Finding of the Savior in the Temple” by William Holman Hunt was intended as a historically accurate depiction of the child Jesus debating the interpretation of the scriptures with learned rabbis.

The painting illustrates a passage from the Gospel of Luke and depicts the moment at which Mary and Joseph find Jesus in the temple.

Meanwhile, the rabbis in the temple are reacting in various contrasting ways to his questions and responses, some intrigued, others angry or dismissive.

This depiction of the child Jesus debating with the rabbis who respond with different reactions is part of the tradition of this subject in art.

The Star of Bethlehem” by Edward Burne-Jones

“The Star of Bethlehem” by Edward Burne-Jones is a painting in watercolor depicting the “Adoration of the Magi” with an angel holding the star of Bethlehem.

The “Adoration of the Magi” is the name traditionally given to the subject in the Nativity of Jesus in art in which the three Magi, represented as kings, having found Jesus by following a star, lay before him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, and worship him.

This painting was commissioned by the City of Birmingham for its new Museum and Art Gallery in 1887. It was the largest watercolor of the 19th century, completed in 1890.

In the earliest depictions of “Adoration of the Magi,” the Magi are shown wearing Persian dress of trousers and Phrygian caps with their gifts held out before them.

The Last of England” by Ford Madox Brown

“The Last of England” by Ford Madox Brown depicts two emigrants leaving England to start a new life in Australia with their small baby.

The emigrating couple stares stoically ahead, stony-faced, ignoring the white cliffs of Dover, which can be seen disappearing behind them in the top right of the picture.

They are huddled under an umbrella that provides shelter from the sea-spray. The faces of the man and his wife, who are seeing England for the last time, are modeled on the artist, Brown, and his second wife, Emma’s portraits.

In the foreground is a row of cabbages hangs from the ship’s rail, provisions for the long voyage. In the background are other passengers, including a pair of drunken men, one of whom was conceived by Brown as shaking his fist and cursing the land of his birth.

Morgan-le-Fay” by Frederick Sandys

“Morgan-le-Fay” by Frederick Sandys portrays the Arthurian witch, and King Arthur’s protector, Morgan le Fay. In some versions of the King Arthur story, she is also known as Morgana and is King Arthur’s secret adversary.

Morgan le Fay, which means “Morgan the Fairy,” was a powerful enchantress in the Arthurian legends. Early references to Morgan as a witch, or sorceress, present her as generally benevolent and related to King Arthur as his magical savior and protector.

Her prominence in Arthurian legends increased over time, as did her moral ambivalence, and in some later texts, she becomes the antagonist. Morgan’s medieval and later iterations present her with an unpredictable duality and with the potential for both good and evil.

Her early identity may be rooted in Welsh mythology, as well as other previous myths and historical figures. There are also early chivalric romances in which her chief role is that of a great healer.

“The First Anniversary of the Death of Beatrice” by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

“The First Anniversary of the Death of Beatrice” by Dante Gabriel Rossetti shows Dante morning the Death of Beatrice, who was the object of his unfulfilled love.

The artist, Rossetti, had a lifelong passion for the works of the Italian poet Dante Alighieri and this watercolor from 1853 is an essential picture in the art history of the period.

This painting was inspired by Dante’s poem La Vita Nuova. This picture references the scene in the Vita Nuova where Dante Alighieri writes that:

“I set myself again to mine occupation, to wit, to the drawing figures of angels: in doing which, I conceived of writing of this matter in rhyme, as for her anniversary.”

Rossetti, in the style of the Pre-Raphaelites, created a work full of complex symbols.

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery Map

Exploring Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

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Visiting the Birmingham Museum of Art

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Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

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“Great events make me quiet and calm;
it is only trifles that irritate my nerves.”

– Queen Victoria

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Photo Credit: Rept0n1x [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

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