What is a ‘ship of fools’ exactly, and where does the idea come from? How can the maritime function as a metaphor for human experiences in art more generally?
Join Kimberley Cumberbatch, Assistant Curator at Royal Museums Greenwich and Emma Philip, Senior Curator at The Box, as they discuss Kehinde Wiley's painting Ship of Fools.
The painting was acquired for the Royal Museums Greenwich collection in 2018, and is currently on loan to The Arts Institute as part of the exhibition Kehinde Wiley: Ship of Fools. Created by Wiley as part of a body of seascapes and responding to those of J.M.W Turner, Winslow Homer, and Hieronymous Bosch, Ship of Fools is a departure from the highly patterned, vibrant portraits for which the artist is widely known. Responding to the epic and romantic traditions of maritime painting, Wiley simultaneously addresses contemporary political and social concerns – the fragility of life at sea as a metaphor for the constant need to keep our ship of humanity afloat. Normally exhibited in the Kings Presence Chamber at Greenwich, we’ll discover what this painting means to the national collection and to the audiences who see it hanging there.
Free to access online.