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)
Large, lavishly decorated wedding chests, today called cassoni, were important pieces of furniture, and played a part in the marriage rituals of the elite in renaissance Italy. They were traditionally commissioned by the bride’s father as part of the dowry, and contained what we would think of as her trousseau, although in the second half of the fifteenth century they were increasingly...
Author: Paula Nuttall (Director of Late Medieval to Early Renaissance Year Course)
In contrast to last week’s pathos-laden image of the Virgin with the Dead Christ, this Virgin and Child by the German sculptor Veit Stoss is notable for its joyous mood, a reminder of the emotional range encompassed by figurative art in this period. It is small – some 20 cm high – and exquisitely carved, the fine-grained boxwood lending itself to virtuosic, detailed treatment....
Author: Paula Nuttall (Director of Late Medieval to Early Renaissance Year Course)
This statuette of the Virgin Mary with the dead Christ on her knee is a small masterpiece of alabaster carving. Just under 40 cm in height, it was made in the Southern Netherlands by a sculptor known, slightly confusingly, as the Master of Rimini (after an alabaster Crucifixion scene now in a museum in Frankfurt, which comes from a church outside Rimini in Italy). This master has recently been...
Author: Paula Nuttall (Director of Late Medieval to Early Renaissance Year Course)
This week’s object is a book, a deluxe manuscript copy of Pliny the Elder’s Natural History, written and illuminated in the 1460s, probably in Rome, for the Sienese scholar and lawyer Gregorio Lolli Piccolomini, a cousin of Pope Pius II, who became papal secretary in 1459 – one of several family members appointed to lucrative posts in Pius’s administration. It’s a...
Author: Paula Nuttall (Director of Late Medieval to Early Renaissance Year Course)
I tend to find that textiles, especially liturgical vestments like this chasuble, don’t initially spark an excited response from viewers – which is a pity, as they’re well worth taking the time to look at. Perhaps one reason textiles don’t get a good press is that relatively few from this period survive, and those that do are often fragmentary or much faded. One of the...
Author: Paula Nuttall (Director of the Late Medieval to Early Renaissance Year Course)
To celebrate our past twenty years, between now and the end of the academic year in July I’ll be posting a weekly blog featuring twenty Medieval and Renaissance objects from the period 1250-1500 in the V&A. They won’t always be the most famous ones – in fact this will be an opportunity to encounter some less obvious pieces, which will hopefully lead to journeys of discovery...
Author: Paula Nuttall (Director of Late Medieval to Early Renaissance Year Course)
The Late Medieval to Early Renaissance Year Course is marking its 20th anniversary in 2012-13. It’s the longest running of the V&A’s six Year Courses, each of which runs one day of the week during term-time, for a full academic year. Each day consists of three lectures on related themes, and there are additional gallery talks and visits. The Medieval to Renaissance Year Course...

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