Art and crafts inspired by the marine world
Art in a museum?
Humans have often tapped into marine resources to express their creative genius, resulting in some remarkable craftsmanship heavily inspired by the ocean depths. The collections include a whole host of sacred and non-religious art-and-craft items from around the world and from every era.
IN THE DNA OF THE MUSEUM
Prince Albert I wanted to bring together art and science under the same roof. This sovereign will is rooted into the DNA of the Musée Océanographique, and can even be seen in the decoration of this lavish historical building.
Look around and you will be surprised to see the lights, sculptures, illuminations and all decorative objects which hint to the marine world, right down to the smallest detail.
ART AT THE SERVICE OF SCIENCE
Besides the artwork on the building itself, the Museum’s rich collection features around 1,500 18th- and 21st-century paintings, drawings and prints. Works of art or of science in their own right, each of these items is an invitation to undertake a fantastic journey into the history of oceanography.
In particular, the collection includes paintings by artists appointed by Prince Albert I of Monaco during his oceanography campaigns. It also contains some pieces which were bequeathed by the Prince himself, as well as donations from a few personalities who were close to Him.
JEWELLERY FROM THE SEA
Since ancient times, the sea has been a reservoir of pearls, mother-of-pearl, red coral, turtle shell, whale tooth and a host of other materials used in the production of jewellery for both women and men. Many artists from the time of Prince Albert I were involved in this artistic movement known as Art Nouveau, which took inspiration mainly from the world of flora and fauna. Works donated by famous names such as René Lalique, Edouard-Marcel Sandoz and Mathurin Méheut are on display in the Temple of the Sea.
USEFUL OR RITUAL OBJECTS
A completely different side of the Museum’s collections is dedicated to ethnography.
This part of the collection displays useful or ritual objects. This includes sailor’s pipes made from turbos, African statues of the Yorubas twins decorated with shells, or even chanks used during religious ceremonies. These are proof that across all cultures and civilizations, the sea plays a major role.