Ashmolean Museum

A white stone building with Grecian style portico and columns
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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.

Venue Type:

Museum, Gallery, Archive

Opening hours

Tues - Sun & Bank Holiday Mondays: 10.00-17.00
Closed every Mon & 24, 25, 26 Dec

Admission charges

Free

Additional info

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.

Collection details

World Cultures, Fine Art, Decorative and Applied Art, Coins and Medals, Archaeology

Key artists and exhibits

  • Designated Collection
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
Black and orange contemporary pots made in the style of ancient Greek vases

CULTURED CANINES - FREE DISPLAY

  • 8 February 2021 — 6 March 2022 *on now

Open until 6 Mar 2022

Gallery 16

Admission is FREE, but a free Museum ticket is required

Cultured Canines is a collaborative project between artist Allison Ksiazkiewicz and Attic Black | Thetis Authentics that explores the history and mythologies of different dog breeds. The ceramic works displayed combine new designs with ancient decorative and manufacturing techniques as reconstructed from Classical Greece.

Developed from the artist’s keen interest in cultures of natural history and the special role that dogs play in our lives, each vase is dedicated to the unique stories of a specific breed. To prepare the drawings and vase concept, Allison spent several weeks at the Ashmolean Museum studying the design and form of different vases in the collection, and worked with Dr Marianne Bergeron who advises on designs. While research and preparatory work is done in the UK, the vases are made at the Thetis Authentic workshop in Athens. Under the supervision of Dr Eleni Aloupi, a vase shape is finalized and produced. Allison then travelled to Athens to paint the vases, working closely with Dr Aloupi and her team to create an object that captures the visual conventions of red- and black-figure Classical ceramics.

Born in Canada, Allison Ksiazkiewicz is a UK-based artist trained as a printmaker and as an historian of art and science. Cultured Canines represents her first collaborative approach to art-making.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

FREE

Website

https://ashmolean.org/event/cultured-canines#/

Two girls with pink hair facing each other

TOKYO: ART & PHOTOGRAPHY

  • 29 July 2021 — 3 January 2022 *on now

This major exhibition will explore Tokyo through the varied and vibrant arts it has generated over 400 years, from its beginnings as the headquarters of the Tokugawa shoguns in the early 1600s to the sprawling modern metropolis and dynamic centre of art, photography and design it is today.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Website

https://www.ashmolean.org/tokyo

A black and white etching of various wandering 3D shapes drifting in space

VISION OF A MOMENT JAPANESE PRINTS 1950–1960 FREE DISPLAY

  • 21 October 2021 — 3 April 2022 *on now

Open until 3 April 2022

A black and white etching of various wandering 3D shapes drifting in space
Komai Tetsuro (1920–1976), Vision of a Moment, etching, 1950
Gallery 11

Admission is FREE, but a free Museum ticket is required

In 1961 the Japanese government presented the Ashmolean Museum with a set of forty works by Japan’s leading contemporary print artists. The gift was part of a cultural exchange between the UK and Japan, and also celebrated the establishment of a new Eastern Art Department in the museum.

This exhibition commemorates the 60th anniversary of this extraordinary gift and of the founding of the Eastern Art Department. It includes a range of abstract and figurative works, including woodblock prints, mezzotints and lithographs – all examples of sōsaku hanga ‘Creative Prints’, made by artists who embraced modernist ideals of artistic self-expression.

While Creative Print artists had begun transforming Japanese printmaking in the first decades of the twentieth century, it was in the 1950s that they first achieved widespread international acclaim. ‘Vision of a Moment’ presents a snapshot of the art of Japanese printmaking at this golden moment in its history.

Image: Komai Tetsuro (1920–1976), Vision of a Moment, etching, 1950

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

FREE

Website

https://ashmolean.org/event/vision-of-a-moment

Woodcut print in pink and blue of abstract fingers playing a flute

IN PRAISE OF HANDS WOODCUTS BY NAOKO MATSUBARA WITH POEMS BY PENNY BOXALL - FREE DISPLAY

  • 21 October 2021 — 13 March 2022 *on now

Open until 13 Mar 2022

Gallery 29

Admission is FREE, but a free Museum ticket is required

Over many decades, artist Naoko Matsubara (b. 1937) has been working on a series of woodcuts exploring the human hand — engaged in sport, dance, music, prayer or a variety of creative acts.

This exhibition celebrates an artistic collaboration between Naoko Matsubara and prize-winning poet Penny Boxall, who has responded to the woodcuts in a series of short poems, and is accompanied by a publication.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

FREE

Website

https://ashmolean.org/event/in-praise-of-hands

Painting of Dante and Beatrice stood amongst trees with yellow flowers on, under a deep blue sky

DANTE: THE INVENTION OF CELEBRITY - FREE EXHIBITION

  • 21 October 2021 — 9 January 2022 *on now

Open until 9 Jan 2022

Gallery 8

Admission is FREE, but a free Museum ticket is required

On the 700th anniversary of the death of Dante (1265–1321), this exhibition will explore the great poet and philosopher's influence on art and culture over the centuries.

Curated by Prof Gervase Rosser, the exhibition will also coincide with a free display at the Bodleian Library, The Divine Comedy from Manuscript to Manga, open until 14 November 2021.

Personality cults; style icons; reality TV: these staples of our modern world have an origin. They can all be traced to the Divine Comedy, an epic poem completed around 1320 by Dante Alighieri. In it, Dante exposed the hollowness and hypocrisy of worldly reputation and power, and for the first time the lives of ordinary people were dramatised on a world stage, with full exposure of their characters. And by writing a bestseller, Dante in turn became a celebrity. Dante himself acquired the status of an icon.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

FREE

Website

https://ashmolean.org/event/dante

An oval-shaped gold Japanese coin with black markings on surface

SAMURAI GOLD: MONEY IN JAPAN IN THE TOKUGAWA PERIOD FREE DISPLAY

  • 21 October 2021 — 1 January 2022 *on now

Japan relied heavily on imported Chinese money before the Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu launched a national Japanese currency in 1601. The Tokugawa coinage lasted for two centuries until the Meiji restoration.

This free display, of a selection of Japanese money, will include some spectacular gold coins, coins of differing shapes and sizes, and unusual paper money. It will also highlight a 19th-century monetary episode in Japan’s history which ultimately contributed to the downfall of the Shogunate.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

FREE

Website

https://ashmolean.org/event/samurai-gold

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
A bronze casting head sculpture of a Renaissance lady

How Renaissance Art was made

  • 18 November — 2 December 2021 *on now

With Dr Alan Pascuzzi, Professional Artist, Renaissance Art Historian, and Author

SILVERPOINT

Silverpoint was the most common drawing tool in the 1400's up to the early 1500's. Artists such as Leonardo, Botticelli and Raphael used silverpoint - literally a silver stylus - to produce some of the most beautiful drawings of the Renaissance.  This talk will explore the historical beginnings of silverpoint from the Greeks and Romans up to the Renaissance, how artists prepared their silver stylus and specially prepared paper and how it was used in the creative process.

FRESCO PAINTING

Some of the most important works of Renaissance art such as the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo, were done in fresco - the painting on damp plaster with water-based pigments. This talk will explore the historical background of fresco from pre-historic times up to the Renaissance and reveal the complex chemistry, general techniques and difficulties involved in making frescoes.

BRONZE CASTING

Renaissance sculptors revived the ancient technique of bronze casting that had been mastered by the Etruscans, Greeks and Romans.  This talk will explore the techniques used by Renaissance craftsmen such as Donatello and Benvenuto Cellini to produce their most important works in bronze. Each step of the process will be illustrated through images of a recent bronze commission done for the city of Florence to give an inside look at the creation of the original work in clay, making of moulds, making of the wax positive, and finally casting the final work in bronze.

BOOKING

The event will take place online on Zoom and a link to join the event will be shared in advance by email.

Booking is essential and tickets are £21 for the entire course.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

£21 per ticket

A pencil sketch of the face of a male sculpture, gazing upwards

THE PRINCIPLES OF DRAWING DRAWING A BUST FROM MULTIPLE ANGLES

  • 2 December 2021 10am-1pm

With Weimin He, Artist

This workshop is designed for people who have some basic drawing experience to intermediate level practitioners.

You will learn how to draw one bust from multiple angles, to help you understand the perspectives of a head.

At the same time, you will also learn how to analyse both structural and anatomical forms of a human head to upper chest.

Tools and materials you will need:

A3 sketchbook or A3 papers and boards
Two or more 2B – 4B pencils or charcoals
A kneadable eraser
A sharpener
The event will take place online on Zoom and a link to join the event will be shared in advance by email.

Booking is essential and tickets cost £60 each (£55 concessions).

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

£60 per ticket (£50 Concessions)

Website

https://ashmolean.org/event/the-principles-of-drawing-2-dec

An inscription of script along the top of a square seal, with an engraving of a figure of a horse beneath

THE INDUS CIVILIZATION

  • 3 December 2021 2-3pm

Fri 3 Dec, 2–3pm

Online
Virtual Event – Join us Online
With Mr Andrew Robinson

The Indus civilization was as ancient and extensive as Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilisation. But it vanished until 1921, when excavation began in today’s Pakistan.

A century on, its undeciphered sealstones, exquisite jewellery, advanced town planning, mysterious religion and lack of warfare, tantalise archaeologists.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

Tickets £4 each

Website

https://ashmolean.org/event/the-indus-civilization-lost-and-found

Portrait of a man, Vespasiano da Bisticci, wearing a black robe with a red drape over his left shoulder

VESPASIANO DA BISTICCI - THE BOOKSELLER OF FLORENCE (MEMBERS ONLY TALK)

  • 6 December 2021 3-4pm

Author and Art Historian Ross King will tell the astonishing story of 15th-century Florentine bookseller, Vespasiano da Bisticci, the 'King of the world’s booksellers', in this exclusive online talk for Members. He provided Popes, Kings, Princes and scholars with beautiful manuscripts and through his remarkable team of scribes and illuminators helped to spread across Europe, the wisdom of newly discovered works by authors such as Cicero and Plato. The talk is based on our speaker’s recent book, ‘The Bookseller of Florence’.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

Tickets £7 each

Website

https://ashmolean.org/event/florentine-bookseller-vespasiano-da-bisticci

Painting of a beach scene with a bonfire under a hazy sky at dawn or dusk

Earth Air Fire and Water: How to capture the ephemeral aspects of nature

  • 8 December 2021 10am-1pm

With Kieran Stiles, artist

Explore how artist’s record the ephemeral aspects of nature, where a moment later the subject might no longer be there. You will also learn about the painting process of Fred Cuming RA and about his use of brush work and rags to create just an indication.

What you will need:

Oils and Turpentine
Small and medium size brushes
Card, board or thick paper to paint on
Seascape photographs for subject reference
The event will take place online on Zoom and a link to join the event will be shared in advance by email.

Booking is essential and tickets are £60 each (£55 concessions).

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

Booking is essential and tickets are £60 each (£55 concessions).

Website

https://ashmolean.org/event/earth-air-fire-and-water-online-workshop

A pencil sketch of the body of a male sculpture, reclining in a side resting pose on a low decorative chais longue

THE PRINCIPLES OF DRAWING - THE STRUCTURE AND PROPORTION OF THE HUMAN BODY

  • 9 December 2021 10am-1pm

With Weimin He, Artist

This workshop suits intermediate to advanced level participants.

Laocoon and his sons has been regarded as one of the most well-known sculptures of ancient time. The Cast Gallery at The Ashmolean Museum has a duplicate of this exact statue.

You will learn how to study the structure and proportion of the human body through drawing parts of this famous statue.

The tutor will show how to simplify the complicated forms and also understand the structural and anatomical forms of human body.

Tools and materials you will need:

A3 sketchbook or A2 papers and boards
Two 2B – 4B pencils
A kneadable eraser
A sharpener
The event will take place online on Zoom and a link to join the event will be shared in advance by email.

Booking is essential and tickets cost £60 each (£55 concessions).

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

£60 per ticket (£55 Concessions)

Website

https://ashmolean.org/event/the-principles-of-drawing-9-dec

An image showing a white building with a hidden noyane roof, located on the verge of a lake with green waters

Edo Castle: The Glittering World of the Shogun's Court

  • 9 December 2021 2-3pm

Thu 9 Dec, 2–3pm

Online
With Lesley Downer, author and historian

Edo Castle was Japan’s Versailles, from where the shoguns governed Japan for 250 years. Lesley Downer reveals the secrets of the outer and middle palaces and the mysterious ‘Great Interior’, where the shogun’s 3000 women lived lives of cloistered luxury.

This talk links to our major Tokyo: Art and Photography exhibition, which is open until 3 January 2022.

The event will take place online on Zoom and a link to join the event will be shared in advance by email.

Booking is essential and tickets are £4 each.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

£4 per ticket.

Website

https://ashmolean.org/event/edo-castle-the-glittering-world-of-shoguns-court

Bronze plaque showing men laying down Christ onto a platform

DONATELLO VS 'ANON' LOOKING CLOSELY AT GREAT (AND NOT-GREAT) THINGS (ONLINE TALK FOR MEMBERS)

  • 16 December 2021 6-7pm

With Dr Jim Harris, Art Historian and Teaching Curator

The way we look at things in a museum is very often conditioned by the prior knowledge we bring to the exercise. We pay attention to Donatello, because he is Donatello. We pass by Anon, because they are, well, Anon. In this talk, Art Historian and Teaching Curator Dr Jim Harris will reflect on his research, looking as closely as possible at the work of Donatello, one of the greatest sculptors of any age; but also on how the same attention, when paid to apparently inconsequential objects, can bring them to life and offer rewards that have put the Ashmolean at the heart of the Oxford curriculum.

(Please note that this talk was previously titled 'Putting Things to Work'. It is the same event. Apologies for any confusion caused.)

The event will take place online on Zoom and a link to join the event will be shared in advance by email.

Booking is essential and tickets are FREE.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

FREE (MEMBERS ONLY)

Website

https://ashmolean.org/event/putting-things-to-work

A woodblock print in orange ink by Naoko Matsubara of two hands with palms displayed

IN PRAISE OF HANDS (MEMBERS ONLY)

  • 13 January 2022 6-7pm

With Dr Clare Pollard, Curator of Japanese Art

In this special online talk for Members, Dr Clare Pollard will explore the artistic career of artist Naoko Matsubara with a focus on the series In Praise of Hands, the subject of the current free exhibition In Praise of Hands.

BOOKING
The event will take place online on Zoom and a link to join the event will be shared in advance by email.

Booking is essential and tickets are £7 each. Every ticket purchased for our exclusive Members’ talks support the Ashmolean and the work that we do.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

Tickets £7 each (MEMBERS ONLY)

Website

https://ashmolean.org/event/members-talk-in-praise-of-hands

An embroidered face of a queen wearing a crown

ONLINE HISTORICAL EMBROIDERY – OPUS ANGLICANUM

  • 5 February — 9 April 2022

Sat 5 Feb, 5 Mar, & 9 Apr 10.30am–4pm

Online Short Course
Virtual Event – Join us Online
With Tanya Bentham, Historical Embroidery Specialist and Author

Opus Anglicanum was the fine art of the Middle Ages.

In this series of 3 online workshops, Tanya Bentham, Author of 'Opus Anglicanum, a Practical Guide', will teach the authentic techniques of underside couching and split stitch to recreate the Dragon Queen, an adaptation of a 13th-century image of St Margaret. The workshop is suitable for all skill levels from competent beginner.

The course is made up of 3 online workshops where you will be able to watch live stitch demos with Tanya, enjoy a question and answer session, and have time for advice and troubleshooting. You will be able to stay as long as you need, and leave when you want to. Sessions will be recorded, so that you can view them again afterwards.

Items included in the ticket price, which will be sent to you in advance, are as follows:

Canvas, marked with the design
Silk, linen, and gold thread
Needles
Three instructional films which you can access at any time

You will need to provide your own frame – we will send an advice video about this.

Online Workshop Dates

An embroidered red and yellow dragon
Sessions will run 10–4pm.

10.30am–12pm Demo and teaching by Tanya
12–1pm Break
1–2pm Questions and Answers
2–3pm Demo by Tanya
3–4pm Discussion/Questions/Advice


There will be an additional ‘troubleshooting’ day on 7 May 2022 (times to be confirmed soon).

BOOKING
The event will take place online on Zoom and a link to join the event will be shared in advance by email.

Booking is essential and tickets are £195 full (£185 concession).

The closing date for registration is 20 January and kits will be sent out after this date. If you would like to give this as a Christmas present, kits can be sent early on request. Please e-mail Jude Barrett (jude.barrett@ashmus.ox.ac.uk) for more information about gifting this workshop.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

Booking is essential and tickets are £195 full (£185 concession)

Website

https://ashmolean.org/event/the-dragon-queen

Ashmolean Museum
Beaumont Street
Oxford
Oxfordshire
OX1 2PH
England

Website

http://www.ashmolean.org

E-mail

Education Service

education.service@ashmus.ox.ac.uk

Museum shop

shop@ashmus.ox.ac.uk

Telephone

01865 278000

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
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