Artist: Unknown brings together for the first time an extraordinary selection of anonymous art and artefacts from the University of Cambridge’s museums and collections.
From the ancient to the contemporary – whether in a museum, book or auction house – the way we engage with art has revolved around the cult of the individual. But what happens when we don’t know who made something?
With objects spanning centuries and continents, the exhibition weaves together often hidden histories of artistic production, collection, marginalisation and colonialism, to explore why these makers’ identities have been unrecorded or lost to history. From a mysterious 17th-century self-portrait to modern Inuit stone carvings, intricately embroidered samplers and elaborate forgeries of scientific instruments, each object bears witness to the creativity and skill of its unknown maker, inviting viewers to question the importance we place on authorship, and to rethink who we define as an ‘artist’.