Steadfast Archangel Lucifer

Bear with me....
I called in to see the 'Queering the Museum' exhibition at Birmingham Museum (BMAG) on a flying visit through the city this week. Not a huge exhibition but an interesting one. The exhibits are peppered throughout the galleries amidst other artefacts, identified by small green carnation decals (once used as a symbol to identify fellow homosexuals and famously worn by Oscar Wilde), so you had to have your wits about you to find them all. Thanks to artist and curator, Matt Smith, I believe the exhibition was all the richer for being displayed in this way.
The first, and possibly the most striking, piece for me was the green carnation festooned cape which had been draped around Jacob Epstein's mighty, 'Archangel Lucifer' sculpture, which is on permanent display in the Round Room.


Birmingham Museum's Round Room 2010, home to Epstein's Archangel Lucifier, taken by Jimmy Guano

The reason I mention any of this is because 'Archangel Lucifer' is one of two scultpures which I like to pay my respects to on each visit to the museum. The other being the white, marble horse's head which currently lives in the main entrance (and which always had a crisp packet or coke can shoved up it's large nostrils throughout the 1980's, the museum was a very different place back then). Therefore, I was delighted today to have a Flikr link sent to me showing Archangel Lucifer standing in his same spot in the 1940's, minus his green cape of course!
If you click on the following highlighted words you'll see photo's of the sculpture in situ in the Round Room in the 1940's (I'm guessing post-1945, maybe after several of the museum's galleries were damaged during bombing? When Epstein was in the throes of creating his piece for Coventry Cathedral?). I was fascinated to see how dark and crowded with paintings the Round Room is today.  Also interesting to note that the mighty, Victorian arches which are visible today were completely covered up back in the 40's. I wonder why? Bomb damage? Modernity?

A meandering blog post, I know, but I'll leave you to pore over those old pictures. If you would like to see 'Queering the Exhibition' for yourself please note that it ends on 30th January.



Comments

scott davidson said…
What an interesting blog, introduced by a thought-provoking photo. The unusual wall painting of the dwellings is also a strangely modern interpretation. Something like this hieroglyphic view of a park by Swiss painter Paul Klee, http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8LT475.
The image can be seen at wahooart.com who can supply you with a canvas print of it.