Hello again and welcome to the fourth installment of Museum of the Week! This week I was back in South Kensington at The Victoria and Albert Museum, more widely known as the V&A. The V&A is the worlds largest museum of decorative arts and design. It has over 4.5 million objects and was founded in 1852, named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. This museum is massive and housed right next to The Natural History museum. The whole space that all of these museums were built in were created in order to educate the public. It was a goal of Prince Albert to create a space where people could learn, and I believe he succeeded in doing just that. This museum was incredible just in the sheer amount of things they had spanning back from Medieval and earlier eras. When you walk in you are greeted with a modern space, leading you to halls filled with statues and objects. It’s not everyday that you get to go into a museum that isn’t just paintings. For the class this week we were observing the museums’ Rapid Collecting exhibit as well as their Cast Courts.
So this above is on of the Cast Courts which include absolutely massive replicas of some of the worlds most famous pieces of architecture. It also houses replicas of statues and effigies. In the Victorian Era it was a great challenge and very fashionable for people to make exact replicas of famous pieces to bring back to England, all for art students to be able to learn. Some students had to study these casts for years before they were allowed to create anything on their own. All of these objects, which look like they’re made of marble, bronze and wood, are actually made out of plaster and paint. They had me fooled. The most notable piece in this collection is the exact replica of the David.
A picture really doesn’t sum up just how insane it is to see this statue. Even though it is not the original, the sheer size of it still instills a bit of wonder. At first I was skeptical of going to a museum just to see replicas of famous art, but they turned out to look so real that I was very satisfied with my visit. I mean, who knows if I’ll ever get to Italy to see the real David? At least I got to see one that is almost exactly the same.
The other exhibit in the museum had to do with the idea of Rapid Collecting and housed objects such as the 3D printed gun that had been made a couple years ago, as well as the refugee flag from the last olympics. These are objects put up on display that you wouldn’t expect in a museum, but send a powerful message to those that stop to take a look at them. They hold a lot of meaning not only to the community in London, but to all people. The V&A really reminded of the Newseum in Washington D.C. with the amount of seemingly normal objects they had on display in the modern portion of the museum. It makes you think about what now is important and how those objects will continue to be important in history.