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On March 25th, Swiss private bank Julius Baer held a sparkling affair at the British Museum. The bank is the sponsor of the exhibition, “Defining Beauty: the body in Ancient Greek art”.
The event was opened by the Chairman of the British Museum, Sir Richard Lambert. Sir Richard began his speech by saying what a pleasure it was for the Museum to have Julius Baer as a sponsor. He also thanked the private and public collections and institutions that lent pieces.
A welcome speech was then given by Adam Horowitz, the head of Julius Baer International, in which he mentioned the satisfaction the bank has in supporting the museum. Julius Baer has sponsored a major event at the British Museum three consecutive times and given to arts and culture over many decades, he said.
Horowitz noted that the magnificent, historical selection of the museum is just one of many sponsorship packages that the bank offers. A private banker at the event noted that Julius Baer is not only the host of great cultural events like this evening, but also the exclusive Global Partner of the FIA Formula E championship. This is the world’s first fully electric racing series, which includes races in major cities across the globe. The bank also sponsored the first Eco Grand Prix in London, the banker added. The Grand Prix of clean energy cars will race through London on June 27and June 28, he said excitedly. The London EPrix will hold two races, rounds ten and eleven in Battersea Park, and could determine the outcome of the championship, he said.
After Horowitz ended his speech, the exhibition curator, Ian Jenkins, discussed the history around the statues and items from the exhibition. Jenkins started his speech by making the guests laugh, noting that the sexual organs of most of the statues on display are small. He also went into detail about how ancient peoples such as the Egyptians, Assyrians, Persians and others thought that public nudity was wrong, much in the way we do today. He noted that the Greeks differed: to them nudity was not considered a sign of humiliation or even sexuality. To compete in the games male citizens stood naked: this was considered a form of moral virtue among the social elite. The male organ was never made too large or sexual on statues, because nudity was not an excuse for sexuality, but rather a symbol of purity, Jenkins added. He ended his speech by inviting the attendees, mainly private client brokers, their clients and members of the British museum, to wander around the halls of the exhibit, and out of the main reception hall.
The main room was full of atmosphere as magnificent Greek statues stood at either end: showcasing the central vision of the exhibition. Blue and yellow lights highlighted the statues and cast golden shadows across the stone. Everywhere was rich yellow hues.
A circular bar stood open with a wide selection of drinks on offer for all the guests. Five waiters served champagne all night by the entrance to the main hall. Other waiters circulated the room making sure clients had full glasses at all times.
The glasses we drank from were rimmed with an ancient, gold style Greek motif. The live band played traditional Greek music, and the tunes evoked a passionate and traditional atmosphere. The bank strove to give its clients a culturally and philosophically inspired evening, and totally succeeded in doing that.
The party was held the night before the exhibit opened to the general public.
On 26 March, Images of Defining beauty: the body in Ancient Greek art exhibit opened to the public. It will show until 5 July 2015.
Photo: Julius Baer