Thursday, 22 July 2010

Oceanographic Museum

The rest of our time in Monte-Carlo was spent at the Oceanographic Museum. We'd spied a poster for an exhibition of some of Damien Hirst's work, including the shark, and as I'd never seen it I thought maybe it was worth a peep. Firstly, the building is incredible. It's build on the edge of a rocky cliff, below the Royal Palace, and decorated with the most wonderful imagination of all things sea-fairing. Above, tenticals creep from behind a shield above the main entrance way. Below, the floors are a vast mosaic of octopi, crabs, and fishes of the deep.
Even the marble staircase has the most gorgeous seashell decoration.
There's one main hall that was absolutely stunning.
beautiful painted boarders:
And the highlight, the ceilings. Each sectioned area depicting a sea creature painted in gold.
It's just incredible and we walked around with crained necks taking in each and every one.
There was no photography of Hirst's work allowed, so we send downstairs to take in the real deal.
So here's the thing; photographing fish is hard! Buggers are just too quick. Though I discovered my camera has an aquarium mode. Fancy. I gave it my best shot (no pun intended).
If you haven't been to an aquarium in a while, go check one out. The bring out the child in everyone I think, and we saw children, parents, and grandparents alike enjoying the little and some rather big fishes.
We found Nemo. and a few hundred of his nearest family.
Some Hirst on the roof.
back inside again and we set of to explore the rest of the building. And let me tell you, it was rad.
It had everything! Dinosaurs... (are skeletons of prehistoric fish called dinosaurs?). ok, it might not be a dinosaur, it might just be a skeleton. But there were some fab fossils!
Beautiful and delicate drawings and sketches of sea creatures and corals and seaweed. These photos don't do them justice at all.
Samples of species...
More incredible skeletons.
Stuffed animals.
Loved this illustration of an octopus.
Lots and lots of specimens in jars. yep, this place was legit. reminded me of trips to the museum as a child. Loved it.
Early diving get-ups. Good lord...
A fantastic mix of models and skeletons, which gave a great sense of scale.
There was even an exhibition on art from sea-shells and other materials such scrimshaw (etching onto whales teeth).
and now back outside to some Hirst I was allowed to snap. Giant anatomy man.
And awesome anatomy unicorn.
With detail. I know a lot of people hate Hirst and his work, but I think he does a lot for sparking interest in nature and animals for both young and old alike, and I like that someone's making items that rejuvenate what otherwise might have been a great, but rather dated and dusty old museum.
And that was Monte-Carlo. Time to head back to the ship...

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