A Month in Mougins

During the summer of 2017, I was lucky enough to spend a month on an internship at the Musée d’Art Classique de Mougins in southeast France. This formed part of a larger initiative set up by the Department of Classics last year, thanks to the support of the EU Erasmus+ scheme and the Study Abroad programme at King’s. I was one of two Modern Classicisms student ambassadors to spend the summer in Mougins: Belinda Martin Porras was able to spend two months on a similar internship in 2017.

Perched on the top of the picturesque village of Mougins, overlooking the Côte d’Azur, the museum is unique for championing the display of ancient art alongside its modern and contemporary descendants. There are very few places in the world where you get to see such juxtapositions: a 1950s Chagall alongside an Egyptian stone bust dating to 1000 BC, for example; Damien Hirst’s 2007 Happy Head alongside a first-century A.D. bronze head of Rome’s first emperor, Augustus; Grayson Perry’s 1989 A Classical Compromise surrounded by fifth- and fourth-century B.C. Greek pottery vessels. The name-dropping is impressive to say the least.

I could easily wax lyrical about the internship’s importance as work experience: learning the inner-workings of a museum like the one at Mougins first-hand was invaluable, especially as I now embark on my PhD (and considering a career in the culture and heritage industries). But when it comes down to it, what could be better than spending a month working with masterpieces of the ancient and modern tradition, curated in such a rich narrative? More to the point, the summer was spent in the company not only of artistic masterpieces, but also of a curatorial team who are so passionate about what they do.

I cannot wait to see so many highlights from the collection again in the spring 2018 exhibition at King’s. The Museum is also heavily involved in our launch event on 10th  November 2017.

Abigail Walker (first-year PhD student, Department of Classics, King’s College London)