15 September – 9 December 2012
This show brings together five millennia of masterworks in bronze from Asia, Africa and Europe.
Rare pieces including a Danish bronze and gold chariot from the 14th century BC, ancient Chinese ritual vessels, and Etruscan masterpieces, will help celebrate the enduring artistic medium of bronze, an alloy consisting mainly of copper.
Also included will be pieces by Renaissance masters of the bronze-casting process such as Ghiberti, Donatello and Cellini, and more modern works by Rodin, Brancusi, Matisse, Picasso, Jasper Johns, Moore and Bourgeois. The exhibition covers the themes animals, gods, human figure, relief, heads and objects to demonstrate the awesome power of the medium across the ages.
Picasso's Baboon and Young, 1951 was created by the artist by using his son's toy cars to form the head, a pot to create the body and a steel spring for the tail, illustrating the varied processes applied to create works in bronze.
Make sure you spot the Ewer discovered in Ghana by British soldiers in 1890 and traced back to the reign of Richard III in 1390. How the piece made its way to Africa is a mystery but the regal emblems adorning it are superb.
In the groups room, watch out for some frisky couples. The Satyr and Satyress, 1532-43 were separated by prudish Victorians however you can see them here happily reunited.