#Book Review #ARC – The Museum; O. Hopkins

Museums are very dear to me. If I had the means, I’d spend the rest of my life traveling abroad and visiting art installations–there’s so much beauty in the world I’d like to see first-hand! Until someone delivers a truck full of money to my doorstep, though, traveling via books will have to do. 

That’s why I’m glad publishers like Quarto exist 😀

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Visited by millions around the world every year, discover the untold story of The Museum, one of mankind’s most essential creations.

Using examples of the greatest cultural institutions to shape the narrative, this book outlines the history of the museum movement, tracking the evolution from princely collections in Europe and the Enlightenment’s classically inspired temples of curiosities, via the public museums of the late nineteenth century, on to today’s global era oficonic buildings designed by the world’s leading architects.

Over the course of five chapters filled with stunning imagery that highlights the beauty of these venerated buildings, the origins of key institutions are revealed, including:
Louvre
Metropolitan Museum of Art
British Museum
Tate Modern

Hermitage
Guggenheim
Smithsonian Institute
Acropolis Museum

Also outlined are the motivations of the architects, curators and patrons who have shaped how we experience the modern museum, a cast that includes names such as King George IINapoleonHenry Clay FrickPeggy GuggenheimAndrew CarnegieAlfred BarrFrank Lloyd WrightLe CourbusierFrank GehryRichard RogersNicholas Serota and Zaha Hadid.

By examining how these venues became intrinsic to our shared cultural experience, analysing the changing roles they play in society and questioning what the future holds in a digital age, this book is for anyone who has stood in awe at the spectacle of a museum.

320 pages
Photography, art
Quarto Publishing – White Lion
Goodreads

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Cover: It’s magnificent, but it’s also a little meh. A detail of the same place would have worked better. 

Yay!

  • The Museum features art pieces and the buildings themselves. It’s a great idea, because both elements are part of an indissoluble whole. Take the Apollo Belvedere out of the Vatican Museums, for example; it would be a magnificent statue regardless, but the context would be missing. I got the same feeling when I went to see itinerant exhibitions: nice, and still…
  • Good structure. The idea of splitting The Museum in sections, going from the origins to the modern concept of a museum, is a winning one. I like to see how museums evolved through the years.
  • Spectacular pictures. Quarto is among a bunch of publishers I expect top-notch content from; all the photos are clear and bright, handpicked with care. Some leave me a little meh because I’m not that taken with the subject, but they’re still impressive.
  • Once again, the prose is mistake-free. That’s another important point, one worthy of a full star. Well done!

Special mention:

  • Virgin on the Rocks, Leonardo da Vinci
  • Museo de Arte de São Paulo, Brazil – the brutalist museum!
  • Grand Staircase of Museum of Fine Arts, Massachusetts, USA
  • Hermitage Museum, Russia.

Nay!

  • Less Europe, please? Give me some more variety!

TL;DR


5 stars on GR.

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