London, England

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Adventures in London, featuring Victoria & Albert and Billy Elliot

A day with Victoria and Albert, followed up by an evening with Billy Elliot.  If you haven't guessed yet, Victoria and Albert that I am referring to is really the Victoria and Albert Museum, while Billy Elliot is a musical (based on a film of the same name).

Victoria and Albert were fantastic hosts.  I took advantage of their hospitality and particularly enjoyed my time in the Renaissance and Medieval rooms and the Raphael room.  The Raphael room contains several of  his cartoons.  (A cartoon is a full-size design created using paint on paper that would be shown to a patron who was commissioning a tapestry, in this case a pope.)  I tried to imagine the tapestries where they would have hung on the lower walls of the Sistine Chapel.  Perhaps, someday, I will get to see the actual tapestries.

As amazing as the Raphael room was, I found myself captured and drawn again and again to the cast sculpture rooms.  Sculpture casting is a way of producing a replica of a sculpture.  This is done to preserve the art, particularly when the original work is exposed to the rain, smog, and other damaging elements.  The Victoria and Albert has one of the largest cast sculpture collections in the world and it fills two rooms, although one is currently closed.  Both rooms can viewed from a balcony above.  These casts are colossal, true to size, perfectly detailed, and completely overwhelming. 

Pictured on the left is Trajan's Column.  Although a single column, the cast is in two parts.  Pictured on the right is the room that is closed.  I found that room to be equally fascinating because of the parts of the collection that were visible, including a replica of Michelangelo's David. 

My first Saturday in London ended by seeing the musical Billy Elliot.  If you are not familiar with the story, I won't ruin it for you, but let me say, the boy in the lead role was outstanding!

1 comment:

  1. The castings are amazing. I wish I were there to see them as well.