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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Dye analysis of the psychedelic Leman silk

As promised in my previous blog, it’s time to show you what very sophisticated scientific analysis techniques (and the even more sophisticated brains of the scientists using them) can reveal about our Leman objects. The V&A has a small team of scientists who deliver expert advice and services to the Museum, and take care of […]

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Guest Post: The restoration of Michelangelo’s David and the interventions by Clemente Papi

Fig 2. Hypothetical virtual reconstruction of the gilding on the David in 1504 (digital elaboration by Artmedia Studio, Florence). Image courtesy of the Artmedia Studio, Florence.

Franca Falletti is the Former Director of Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence The Granduke of Tuscany commissioned from Clemente Papi a plaster mould and a copy of the sculpture of the David by Michelangelo, on 29 August 1846.[1] Soon afterwards, Papi also made a wax mould in preparation for a bronze copy of the statue, because he […]

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Guest Post: ‘Castaway!’ – David washed ashore in the antipodes

David’s eye. NAS Drawing Department cast.

Lorraine Kypiotis is a lecturer in Art History and Theory at National Art School in Sydney To view the remnants of the facial features of Michelangelo’s David at the National Art School in Sydney is somewhat like considering the curious pieces of flotsam and jetsam washed ashore after a tropical storm. They are, in so many […]

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Time capsules, finding the unexpected in buildings and objects – Part 3

Package of Hudson's extract of soap found inside one of the monumental casts in gallery 46 A. Image, J. Puisto © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

The secrets in the Cast Courts One of the joys of working in the Cast Courts at the V&A, is the opportunity to examine the casts up-close. Surprisingly many of them conceal peculiar items which have been hidden inside them for a very long time. The items we find consist of, fragments of cleaning materials, […]

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Guest Post: Part 2 – David’s journey from Florence to V&A

Plaster cast of Michelangelo's David (Mus. No. REPRO. 161-1857) at the V&A. Image, Giuseppe Rizzo.

Giuseppe Rizzo is an art historian with a specialism on the life and works of Clemente Papi. Giuseppe works at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Although there are many copies of Michelangelo’s David in museums around the world, the full-size-replica exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum should be considered as ‘unique’. The cast was […]

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Guest Post: Part 1 – Clemente Papi: From plaster maker to Royal Bronze Founder

The Chapel, Petits St. Augustins, Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris (Photo: @ EDBA n. 40445).

Giuseppe Rizzo is an art historian with a specialism on the life and works of Clemente Papi. Giuseppe works at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. The history of the first copies of Michelangelo’s David are linked to the cast maker Clemente Papi (1803-1875), who, over the course of his career, made three life-size reproductions of […]

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Conservation of a Romanesque Lintel Cast

Repro.1902-17 in a former installation at the V&A, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

During my last year of the MSc in objects conservation at University College London, I am fortunate to have been granted a placement in the sculpture conservation studio at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) to fulfil the practical portion of my training. Last September, I became involved in the conservation of the V&A plaster […]

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Cast Courts Update

The scaffolding in Gallery 46A has now been taken down, and so now once again it’s possible to view the whole gallery and some of the museum’s largest objects. This gallery will remain closed until November 2018, but can still be viewed from the balcony level in Gallery 111. Overall the scaffolding took three months […]

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3D Imaging in Cultural Heritage

On the 9th and 10th November, the British Museum hosted a conference about 3D Imaging in Cultural Heritage. The conference was supported by IPERION-CH (Integrated Platform for the European Research Infrastructure on Cultural Heritage), and explored the wide range of methods and applications of 3D imaging, as well as how 3D data can be used […]

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Rodin Centenary, November 1917-2017

Portrait of Auguste Rodin by John Lavery, 1913. P.18-1914 © V&A 2017 is the centenary of Rodin’s death, on 17 November 1917 at his country house (now a museum) at Meudon, just south-west of Paris. Concurrently with Rodin’s funeral in Paris, a memorial service was held in London, in St Margaret’s Church, Westminster, organised by […]

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