Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum is the country’s oldest public museum and home to one of the most important collections of art and archaeology to be found anywhere.
The collections span the civilisations of east and west, charting the aspirations of humankind from the Neolithic era to the present day. Among its treasures are the world's largest collection of Raphael drawings, the most important collection of pre-Dynastic Egyptian material in Europe, the only great Minoan collection in Britain, the finest Anglo-Saxon collections outside the British Museum and the foremost collection of modern Chinese art in the Western world.
Museum, Gallery, Archive
Tues - Sun & Bank Holiday Mondays: 10.00-17.00
Closed every Mon & 24, 25, 26 Dec
Parking is available next to the Museum on St. Giles
The entire collection of the Ashmolean Museum is a Designated Collection of national importance.
The Ashmolean Museum was founded in 1683, the first institutional museum in Britain, and arguably in Europe. Notable among antiquities are the Egyptian collections, the Classical Greek collections including the ‘Arundel Marbles’ and the Felix Gem, and the Alfred Jewel. Paintings date from early Italian to Pre-Raphaelite and there are outstanding drawings by Raphael and Michelangelo. The arts of China, Japan, South East Asia and Islam are well represented, as are Maiolica, Renaissance bronzes and numismatics.
World Cultures, Fine Art, Decorative and Applied Art, Coins and Medals, Archaeology
Key artists and exhibits
- Designated Collection
Old Traditions, New Visions: Art in India and Pakistan After 1947
- 1 September 2017 — 18 March 2018 *on now
After the political freedom gained in 1947, Indian and Pakistani artists faced a significant challenge to express the new nations’ distinctive character and visions. Artists sought new modes of expression, engaging with the modern European art movements but remaining oriented toward their own traditions.
- Family friendly
Qu Leilei: A Chinese Artist in Britain
- 7 November 2017 — 15 April 2018 *on now
Contemporary Chinese artist Qu Leilei (b. 1951), now based in London, was a founding member of the avant-garde ‘Stars Group’ in the late 1970s, and immigrated to England in 1985. This exhibition shows his progression from calligraphic collage to an exploration of a new vocabulary of ink language blending lively brushwork with western technique.
Qu Leilei was born in 1951 in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, China, and like many other Chinese artists received training in painting and calligraphy at an early age. He started his career as a founding member of the famous ‘Stars group’ in China but it was while living in Britain that Qu Leilei has formed his unique style of ink painting. The exposure to Western art, especially classical sculpture and Italian Renaissance painting, intensified his quest for perfection of naturalistic image of bodily beauty in art. His love of beauty for its own sake, and his long and careful studies of the anatomy and Renaissance old masters, have led to large and impressive life-like figure paintings which are the primary focus of the exhibition.
The display features a variety of images ranging from small sketches of life drawing to larger highly refined figural paintings created from 1985 to the present, showing Qu Leilei's progression from calligraphic collage to an exploration of a new vocabulary of ink language. His confident use of brush and ink, allows him to blend western techniques with oriental aesthetics. Most of the works on display are drawn from the Ashmolean’s own collection with additional works on loan from the artist.
We are most grateful for the generous support of the Jiangsu Art Reproduction & Culture Development Co Ltd, China.
ON THE OCEAN: THE MEDITERRANEAN AND THE ATLANTIC FROM PREHISTORY TO 1500 AD
- 2 March 2018 1-2pm
With Sir Barry Cunliffe, Emeritus Professor of European Archaeology, University of Oxford.
For humans, the sea has always been an alien and dangerous environment. So how and why did we become seafarers? Distinguished archaeologist Sir Barry Cunliffe explores the evidence, bringing together years of research and recent findings.
Tickets: £7/£6 Members and conessions, booking essential.
GREEK VASE PAINTERS AND THE TROJAN WAR
- 24 March 2018 2-3pm
With David Studdard, Historian and Author
The Trojan War inspired the works of many Greek poets and dramatists. Using a wealth of illustrations, David Stuttard shows how vase painters, too, responded to the myths of Troy in ways that were moving, funny, and sometimes heart-stoppingly profound.
Tickets: £7/£6 Members & concessions, booking essential.
ETRUSCAN CITIES: HOUSES FOR THE LIVING AND THE DEAD
- 28 March 2018 2-4pm
The Etruscans had a rich and distinctive culture, once dominating Italy before they were overshadowed by the rise of Rome. This series looks at the material culture of this enigmatic people to gain a better understanding of their lives.
Tickets: £11/£10 Members & concessions, inc. afternoon tea, booking essential.