Contemporary sculptors at the British Museum.

4 October 2008 – 25 January 2009. Admission free.

Antony Gormley

Case for an Angel I, Antony Gormley. © Jay Jopling, White Cube London

Antony Gormley is perhaps best known for his 200-tonne Angel of the North (1998), which dominates the landscape near Gateshead, in the north-east of England. Gormley created Case for an Angel I, almost a decade earlier.

Both share that evocative silhouette. At the same time human, superhuman and inhuman, a symbol of triumph and of our own mortality. Case for an Angel I echoes many works in the Museum – Egyptian statues, Assyrian winged bulls, Christian Crucifixions, and the Roman caryatid statue on the nearby stairs.

Unlike its monumental offspring, this angel is – despite its 8.5 metre wingspan – defiantly human-sized. It is a metaphor for humanity’s capacity to imagine and create, particularly appropriate at the entrance to a museum that celebrates those very endeavours. Antony Gormley is a trustee of the British Museum.

Case for an Angel I

1989, Plaster, fibreglass, lead, steel, air

Collection of Jay Jopling

“The British Museum is a laboratory of possibility for any creative mind. It is filled with objects that reach across time and touch us intimately. Seeing as a child the great head of Ramesses and the Assyrian winged bulls at the British Museum was what made me become a sculptor..”

Antony Gormley


  • © Jay Jopling, White Cube London
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