Renaissance

Rooms 50a – 50d

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The Renaissance collections bring together masterpieces of northern and southern European art from the late 1400s to the early 1600s. Monumental sculptures, rich textiles and colourful ceramics show artists’ continued fascination with the art of the Roman world and the importance of the Christian church as patron.

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Highlights include the greatest collection of Italian Renaissance sculpture outside Italy, with pieces by Donatello, Andrea Briosco (‘il Riccio’) and Giambologna, as well as notebooks owned by Leonardo da Vinci. Richly-coloured stained glass from Northern Europe, rare carpets from Spain and a striking display of armour suggest the splendour and wealth of the period.

Exploring Renaissance

Photo of Samson Slaying a Philistine, Giambologna, 1560-1562, Italy. Museum no. A.7-1954. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Samson Slaying a Philistine, Giambologna, 1560-1562, Italy. Museum no. A.7-1954. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of The Forster Codex, Leonardo da Vinci, late 15th to early 16th century, Italy. Museum no. F.141 (Forster). © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
The Forster Codex, Leonardo da Vinci, late 15th to early 16th century, Italy. Museum no. F.141 (Forster). © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Pair of gauntlets, Lucio Piccinino, about 1585, Italy. Museum no. M.143 & A-1921. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Pair of gauntlets, Lucio Piccinino, about 1585, Italy. Museum no. M.143 & A-1921. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of 'Portrait of a Lady known as Smeralda Bandinell', by Sandro Botticelli, 1470-1480, Italy. Museum no. CAI.100. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
'Portrait of a Lady known as Smeralda Bandinell', by Sandro Botticelli, 1470-1480, Italy. Museum no. CAI.100. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Hunting crossbow, unknown, about 1590, Germany. Museum no. M.2744-1931. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Hunting crossbow, unknown, about 1590, Germany. Museum no. M.2744-1931. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of The Dacre Dolphin, unknown, 1507-1525, England. Museum no. W.9:1 to 5-2000. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
The Dacre Dolphin, unknown, 1507-1525, England. Museum no. W.9:1 to 5-2000. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Parade shield, Jorg Sigman, 1552, Germany. Museum no. 3660-1855. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Parade shield, Jorg Sigman, 1552, Germany. Museum no. 3660-1855. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Glove, Sheldon Tapestry Workshops, 1590-1610, England. Museum no. T.145. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Glove, Sheldon Tapestry Workshops, 1590-1610, England. Museum no. T.145. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Lantern, unknown, 1570-1600, Italy. Museum no. 7225-1860. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Lantern, unknown, 1570-1600, Italy. Museum no. 7225-1860. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Salamander pendant, unknown,  late 16th century, Europe. Museum no. M.537-1910. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Salamander pendant, unknown, late 16th century, Europe. Museum no. M.537-1910. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Mechanical globe clock, Georg Roll and Johannes Reinhold, 1584, Germany. Museum no. 246-1865. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Mechanical globe clock, Georg Roll and Johannes Reinhold, 1584, Germany. Museum no. 246-1865. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of 'October; The Labours of the Months' (ceiling roundel), Luca della Robbia, 1450-1456, Italy. Museum no. 7641-1861. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
'October; The Labours of the Months' (ceiling roundel), Luca della Robbia, 1450-1456, Italy. Museum no. 7641-1861. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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