Victoria and Albert Museum

The world’s greatest museum of art and design

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Paula Nuttall

Author: Paula Nuttall (Director of Late Medieval to Early Renaissance Year Course)
Among the most historic – and historical – treasures in the V&A’s Medieval and Renaissance Galleries are four stained glass panels from a series depicting the rulers of the Burgundian Netherlands, together with angels bearing coats-of-arms, originally from the windows of the Chapel of the Holy Blood in Bruges. The V&A panels depict Mary, Duchess of Burgundy, her husband...
Author: Paula Nuttall (Director of Late Medieval to Early Renaissance Year Course)
This week’s object has been chosen by students on the Medieval and Renaissance Year Course, and is by the great Florentine sculptor Donatello (1386-1466). It is an image of the Virgin and Child, by far the most common type of privately owned art object in this period. Images such as this served as aids to daily prayer, and were available in a wide range of materials, styles and formats, to...
Author: Paula Nuttall (Director of Late Medieval to Early Renaissance Year Course)
Luca della Robbia, October; The Labours of the Months, Florence, Italy, Tin-glazed terracotta, Medieval and Renaissance Galleries, Room 64, Case SS, Mus Ref: 7641-1861 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London This week’s object is an exceptional example of Italian renaissance interior decoration: in terms of design and materials there’s nothing quite like it, even in Italy, let alone...
Author: Paula Nuttall (Director of Late Medieval to Early Renaissance Year Course)
In one of my earlier blogs I wrote about an Italian marriage chest or cassone, and this week’s object is, in a sense, a sequel to that. It is a birth tray (in Italian, desco da parto), an object that was typically commissioned to celebrate the birth of a first-born son in elite Florentine families. Its author, Apollonio di Giovanni (c.1415-1465), was a Florentine painter who ran a workshop...
Author: Paula Nuttall (Director of Late Medieval to Early Renaissance Year Course)
Pisanello, Leonello d'Este Medal, Verona, Italy, Cast Bronze, Medieval and Renaissance Galleries, Room 64, Case 14, Mus Ref: A.165-1910 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London Portrait medals are fascinating objects for anyone interested in this period, as they embody so many of the characteristics typically associated with the renaissance. Their form and inspiration are derived from...
Author: Paula Nuttall (Director of Late Medieval to Early Renaissance Year Course)
A masterpiece of late gothic painting presides in solitary splendour over one end of the Raphael Cartoon Courts, isolated from its medieval and early renaissance counterparts on the other side of the Museum: the St George altarpiece from Valencia. It is not only one of the V&A’s most important late medieval treasures, it is also one of the finest Spanish gothic altarpieces to survive,...
Author: Paula Nuttall (Director of Late Medieval to Early Renaissance Year Course)
The V&A has the greatest collection of Italian renaissance maiolica in the world – over a thousand pieces in all. This dish from the Renaissance Galleries, displayed in a case devoted to objects connected with marriage and childbirth, is one of my favourites. Measuring almost 47 cm in diameter, it depicts a group of infants climbing a tree, picking and eating its fruit. On the upper...
Author: Paula Nuttall (Director of Late Medieval to Early Renaissance Year Course)
If you’ve visited the Medieval and Renaissance galleries recently, you may have noticed that a familiar face is missing. The portrait bust of Giovanni Chellini by the Florentine sculptor Antonio Rossellino, usually to be seen in Room 64b at the end of the first floor galleries, is currently away at the exhibition ‘Florence and the Springtime of the Renaissance’ at the Palazzo...
Author: Paula Nuttall (Director of Late Medieval to Early Renaissance Year Course)
With Easter in mind - though in the current cold weather it feels more like Christmas, only without the mince pies, carols and good cheer – this week I’ve chosen Martin Schongauer’s beautiful engraving of The Resurrection of Christ. It comes from roughly the same time and place as last week’s Christ on a Donkey, although intended for a more exclusive audience. Schongauer (...
Author: Paula Nuttall (Director of Late Medieval to Early Renaissance Year Course)
This statue of the blessing Christ riding a donkey is an appropriate choice of object for Holy Week. This type of image, known as a Palmesel (literally ‘Palm Ass’), was common in German towns during the late middle ages, and was carried in processions on Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, evoking Christ’s entry into Jerusalem. Our Palmesel may have been made in Ulm in...

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