Ashmolean Museum


January 24, 2022

The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archeology or the Ashmolean Museum (Ashmolean / Ashmolean / Ashmolean Museum) is the world's oldest public museum. One of the four museum institutions operating at the University of Oxford. Initially - a collection of rarities, bequeathed to the university by Elias Ashmole (1677). The current building of the museum was erected in 1841-1845 in the style of late classicism (architect C. R. Cockerell).


The world's first university museum opened in 1683 in a compact building designed by one of Christopher Wren's students specifically to house the rarities bequeathed to the university by Elias Ashmole (1617–1692). It was not Ashmole who collected the Ashmolean collection, but his friend John Tradescant (1608-1652) and the latter's father. For 150 years the Ashmolean Museum remained the center of Oxford's natural science research, but in the 19th century the collections were redistributed among four Oxford museums. The Museum of the History of Science moved into the old building, and the Ashmolean Museum itself was redesigned in the direction of archeology and art. On New Year's Eve in 1999, Cezanne's "View of Auvers-sur-Oise" was stolen from the museum, valued at £3 million. The painting has not yet been found.


The Ashmolean Museum is famous for its collection of ancient Egyptian art and Renaissance graphics (Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci). The art gallery features Uccello, Giorgione, Rubens, Rembrandt, Lorrain, Turner, Renoir and Picasso. Other curiosities include Parian marble, the Messiah Stradivarius violin, collections of Minoan antiquities by Arthur Evans (curator of the museum from 1884-1908), an exposition of ancient rings (one of which is believed to have inspired Professor Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings), and Alfred's jewel. The museum also has rich collections of ancient coins, medieval weapons and armor.



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