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Medieval and Renaissance: Past, Present and Future

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The Robert H Smith Renaissance Sculpture Programme

By Stuart Frost

A  number of events have taken place at the V&A recently as part of the Robert H.Smith Renaissance Sculpture Programme, a ten-year programme of events generously funded by Mr Smith. The programme includes conferences, seminars, publications and two demonstrations of sculpture techniques a yearDemonstration of techniques used in Renaissance sculpture by Tom Clark..

The V&A holds the national collection of sculpture, including the most important collection of Italian Renaissance sculpture outside Italy, and the events supported by the Robert H. Smith programme create a forum where new ideas about the Renaissance sculpture and the V&A’s collection can be explored and discussed. The demonstrations, for example, encourage visitors to think about how the objects were made helping them to appreciate the process involved in producing finished works of art.

The first of the demonstrations took place in March and was led by sculptor Tom Clark. The demonstration showed how relief sculptures were produced using techniques employed by Renaissance sculptors. Tom chose to copy an Italian marble relief portrait of the poet, diplomat and humanist Francesco Cinzio Benincasa. The original relief will be displayed in the Medieval & Renaissance Galleries as part of a display that looks at portraiture and indentity.

As you can see in the pictures the public responded enthusiastically to the opportunity to have a go at carving, with visitors of all ages eager to take their turn. Click on the pictures to see larger images or to find out a little more information about what is shown. I didn’t have room to include all of the photographs related to Tom’s demonstration here. If you’d like to see them I have posted them on the Medieval & Renaissance - V&A site on Flickr.

In December there will be a different sculpture techniques session when you can come and watch another expert in action and perhaps have a go yourself. The second annual lecture will also take place in December, given by Nicholas Penny, Director of the National Gallery. I’ll post updates on other events via this blog and post extra pictures on Flickr.Demonstration of techniques used in Renaissance sculpture by Tom Clark.

The next Robert H Smith event is a one-day symposium on Leone Leoni: Sculptor to Princes, Emperors and Kings. The symposium marks the 500th anniversary of Leoni’s birth. Leoni worked primarily in bronze and attracted the attention of the wealthiest and most powerful patrons of his day, including the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V and King Philip II of Spain. The event will take place in the Hochhauser Auditorium in the Museum’s new Sackler Centre between 10.00-16.45. Tickets are free but if you are thinking of coming advanced booking is recommended.

If you would like to know more about any of these events please look on the What’s On area of the V&A’s website or contact Caroline Bulloch on c.bulloch@vam.ac.uk to be added to the mailing list.

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