Skip to main content

School trip to the The Cult of Beauty exhibition at the Wellcome Collection

Here are some pictures from our recent CCC school trip, as part of the KS3 PSHE curriculum, for the students to reflect upon the concept of beauty. This trip also supported our learning about 'Health and personal safety' in the Autumn term. 
 
We were 17 altogether to visit this temporary exhibition, including 9 students (5 from KS3 and 4 from KS4). We had a private tour, and our guide explained a selection of artefacts on display, such as the Roman sculpture, the barbie doll (and its unrealistic, distorted forms, when we look at her proportions), the first mirrors ever made out of polished obsidian (volcanic glass) 8,000 years ago, and various masks with their different purposes. 
 
Combining art, artefacts and science, this exhibition was thought-provoking inviting us to question established norms and reflect on more inclusive definitions of beauty, but also consider the influence of morality, status, health, age, race and gender on the evolution of ideas about beauty.   

Nefertiti’s bust shows how an iconic figure can be a link between the earthly and spiritual.

These two sculptures, Esquiline Venus and Idolino, are from 500 BCE and are the type that captured the public imagination from the 17th century onwards. They shaped what we think of as the ideal male and female bodies. In this exhibition we challenge these beliefs by showing the statues alongside ‘Sleeping hermaphroditus’, Cassils’ self-portrait, and Carlos Molta’s ‘Hermaphrodite (8)’

Brazilian artist Angelica Dass’s work ‘Humanea. Work in progress’ is an ongoing photographic project that demonstrates how race and identity cannot be pinned down to skin colour alone. She matches pixels from the nose of each subject to a Pantone colour that forms the background to show the absurdity of racism.

Understanding that Barbie doll promotes an unreal female body image (because of her unrealistic proportions) and lifestyle is important towards understanding some of the behavior amongst women.

The earliest known manufactured mirrors (approximately 8000 years old) were made from obsidian (volcanic glass), had a convex surface and remarkably good optical quality.

Makeupbrutalism’s multimedia installation ‘It makes no sense being beautiful if no one else is ugly’ encourages us to question our beliefs, confront our raw selves beneath social pressure and to peel back the layers of the beauty industry.

Narcissister’s three-metre-tall hanging sculpture ‘(Almost) all of my dead mother’s beautiful things’ centres on the crushing weight of beauty ideals that are passed from one generation to another.