Sculpture


The V&A’s sculpture collection contains approximately 22,000 objects and concentrates on Western European Sculpture from the 4th century to the end of the 19th century. Highlights of the collection include masterpieces from the Italian Renaissance, ivory carvings of all periods, Northern European wood and other sculpture, commemorative medals and plaster casts.

Learn about the hidden stories behind these masterpieces.

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Guest post: Plaster cast of Michelangelo’s David in the plaster cast workshop of the Royal Museums of Art and History, Brussels

PICTURE 1 : David in the Brussels plaster cast workshop ©KMKG-MRAH, Brussels

Nele Strobbe is Head of the Plaster Cast Workshop at the Royal Museums of Art and History, Brussels The plaster cast of Michelangelo’s David at the Victoria and Albert Museum has, in addition to his ‘cousin’ in the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow, another one in Brussels. Currently most of this David […]

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A new home for Neptune and Triton in the Europe 1600-1815 Gallery

Detail of Neptune's face © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The Neptune and Triton (Mus. No. A.18-1950) by Gianlorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) is one of the V&A’s most well-known Italian marble groups. The sculpture, which stands nearly two meters high and weighs over 8oo kg was recently moved to the newly refurbished Europe 1600-1815 gallery, where it now stands in prime position, with Neptune casting his terrifying gaze upon […]

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The curious case of the Tibetan skull drum

Detail showing an area of missing decoration © Johanna Puisto Victoria and Albert Museum, London

I was recently asked to work on a very unusual object, which was a 19th century Tibetan drum, made of human skulls. The drum was about to travel to the Wellcome Collection’s exhibition titled; ‘Tibet’s Secret Temple; Body, Mind and Meditation in Tantric Buddhism’. It was highly exciting to work on this loan as His […]

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Art of Cartapesta Demonstration

Victor Borges

On Sunday 13 September there was a fascinating drop-in demonstration on the Art of Cartapesta, an event which forms part of the Robert H. Smith Renaissance Sculpture programme.  Victor Borges, a Senior Conservator at the V&A who has worked on cartapesta objects in the Collection, took enthralled visitors through the materials and techniques which might […]

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All that glitters is not gold – or is it?

Figure 4
The golden surface of the sandal viewed with the microscope inbuilt in the XRF machine. The laser in the center of the cross hairs shows the exact spot analysed, which is 0.2 mm across

Science meets Shoes. Go behind the scene and find out what we do to our objects before they can go on display. This is the tale of the two Lucias, Lucia the research assistant and Lucia the scientist: together we reveal aspects of our job related to the forthcoming exhibition “Shoes – Pleasure and Pain”. […]

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Time capsules, finding the unexpected in buildings and objects. Part 2

DSC_3793

The secret parcel and other discoveries from the Weston Cast Court. In my previous post I described some of the surprising items we found in the museum’s Medieval & Renaissance and British Sculpture galleries. The things that we found were type of messages from the past left by the people who worked in the museum […]

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Time capsules, finding the unexpected in buildings and objects. Part 1

And additional note with very important information regarding the cos of beer in 1948

One of the benefits of working in old buildings is that they often conceal secrets that are just waiting to be discovered. Before joining the V&A, I used to work at St Paul’s Cathedral, one of the world’s most iconic buildings and filled with glorious art. In the Cathedral’s crypt, I found a fascinating object […]

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Guest Post: Plaster cast of Michelangelo’s ‘David’ in the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow.

Fig.1. The plaster cast of Michelangelo's David in the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts (Inv. II.2.в 424)

In the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow there is an identical “cousin” of the V&A’s plaster cast of “David” by Michelangelo. The story of the David cast from Moscow is remarkable as is the history of the whole museum collection. The Pushkin Museum was originally conceived as a museum mostly for students of […]

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David revealed!

David's left eye

One of the most significant works of art in the Victoria and Albert Museum is the plaster cast of Michelangelo’s David (Repro.1857-161) by Clemente Papi (1803-1875). David has recently received an enormous amount of worldwide media attention around the removal of the protective shroud that he has worn while the Cast Courts have been renovated. […]

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Guest Post: Artist Natasha Lien on how the V&A Cast Courts inspire her work

Pencil drawing of Trajan in the Cast Court

I have always loved the V&A. It’s a vibrant, busy place which counteracts the stereotype of museums as stuffy, quiet and empty. I wanted to portray contemporary life by creating a narrative with the space itself and the diverse mixture of people that use it. The courts themselves are incredibly impressive to walk into and […]

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