|Designed to be impressive, visitors to London's ancient British Museum
today might also find it intimidating.
|The Gallery of Cornelis van der Geest, 1628, Willem van Haecht, (here depicting a private
collection); it wasn't until the early 20th century that art museums took on the spacious, uncluttered look we know today.
|From the old masters to Impressionism to contemporary art, the spacious, wide-open concept of museums today, though limiting quantity, displays work in a manner allowing
it to "breathe"--to exist in its own space.
It was only with the advent of Modern Art, which looked horrible under such circumstances, that museums began to follow the lead of privately sponsored exhibitions in hanging all work at eye-level with a generous expanse of uninterrupted wall space in between. However, because of this, the problem of more art than walls only worsened. Even with museums sprouting wings at a rate matched only by hospitals, many art institutions today have as much as ten times more art than they can display. As a result, the excess flows into warehouse or basement storage facilities where even now, beyond the watchful eyes of curators, it continues being copied. Of course, with today's high tech authentication procedures, few of these copies are likely to become fakes to be passed off as originals. So presumably, now at least, despite the size and number of art museums abounding today, John Constable is resting easier in his grave.
|The White Horse, 1819, John Constable, many imitators, but few copiers.