Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Victoria and Albert Museum

After spending several hours in the sprawling Victoria and Albert museum I chose to focus my attention on the European sculpture rooms and the jewelry rooms. I had two immediate favorites in the European sculpture rooms. They were a set that were both created by Alfred Stevens in 1867-1868. The imposing statues are titled Truth and Falsehood and Valour and Cowardice. Truth and falsehood depicts a female truth ripping the forked tongue our of male falsehood's mouth. She towers over him and his serpentine tails flail madly at her feet. The sister to the statue, Valour and Cowardice shows a female valour crushing cowardice beneath her shield and sword. I thought it was very interesting that both of the upright characters in the scenes were female and I loved the powerful message behind both of these statues. 

The second part of the museum I focused on was the jewelry rooms. Unfortunately pictures were not allowed for security reasons, but it was absolutely beautiful. The museum boasts an astounding 3,500 jewel collection that spans many time periods from all over the world. Some of the oldest pieces were estimated to be around 800 years old. The jewelry was arranged in lit glass cases and was arranged by time period. I was particularly fond of a snuff box designed by Faberge for Czar Nicholas II of Russia. The jewelry rooms also have a unique computer system for museum visitors so that the collection can be searched by time period, stone or material, designer, or who the piece belonged to or was donated by. 
The Victoria and Albert museum's tagline states that they are "the world's greatest museum of art and design," I personally have not been to all the museums in the world, so I cannot say whether that statement is true, but I would highly recommend that anyone make a pit-stop to this museum when in London.

by Jessica Holliday

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