Last month, the National Maritime Museum launched Visions of the Universe – a spectacular exhibition of interstellar imagery that the Guardian’s art critic Jonathan Jones called “the most beautiful and significant exhibition I have seen in ages”.
Comprising the earliest hand-drawn charts of the cosmos alongside cutting-edge photography made possible by interplanetary travel and the Hubble Space Telescope, the show should prove well worth a visit for budding astronomers – or indeed, anyone who’s ever gazed up at the stars in wonder.
This week and next, visitors will also be able to participate in a unique after-hours event. At 6:30pm on July 18th and July 25th, the exhibition space will be filled with the sounds of sublime, atmospheric music courtesy of students from the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.
A programme of exquisite pieces, both classical and modern, will be performed – each of which has been specially selected in response to Visions of the Universe’s overwhelmingly beautiful exhibits.
This week, visitors will hear violinist Nadine Nagan, oboist Lenia Christodoulou and pianist Irina Lyakhovskaya perform a catalogue of serene and contemplative works by Bach, Bloch and Debussy.
Next week, they’ll be able to hear Masters’ student pianist Bravinsan Karunanithy interpret a selection of rarely-heard piano compositions.
In either instance, it should provide the perfect accompaniment to a tour of the exhibition’s displays, whether you’re gazing upon the winners of the Royal Observatory’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition or at the Mars Window – a jaw-dropping, 13-metre long panorama stitched together from images captured by Nasa’s three Martian rovers.
Visions of the Universe runs until September 15th. Normal opening hours are 10am to 4:30pm and tickets start from £8 for adults, with a corresponding concessionary rate of £2.50 also available. Those who’d also like to visit the Royal Observatory and Cutty Sark can pay a little more for a ‘big ticket'; these cost £18 for adults and £14.50 for children.