Past Display Ran from 2 December 2020 to 8 August 2021

Renaissance Watercolours

This display is now closed at V&A South Kensington

This display presents for the first time watercolour during the Renaissance as a unified art form, highlighting its versatility and pivotal role in understanding, interpreting and documenting the natural world. 

Display Highlights

a drawing of Canterbury cathedral front design
Canterbury Cathedral font design, watercolour drawing, by John Christmas, about 1638 – 39, Britain. Museum no. E.574-2005. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
portrait miniature depicting Anne of Cleeves
Anne of Cleves, portrait miniature set in an ivory box, by Hans Holbein, 1539, England. Museum no. P.153:1, 2-1910. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Watercolour of Nonsuch Palace. Two turrets at the front and a tower in the centre. It is surrounded by trees and green space
Nonsuch Palace from the South, watercolour, by Joris Hoefnagel, 1568, England. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Apollo and Daphne; Cupid, above them, poising an arrow; Drawn with the brush, charged with bistre, tinted.
Apollo and Daphne, drawing, by Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, about 1630 – 64, Italy. Museum no. DYCE.346. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Man leaning against a tree wearing a white ruff, white tights and a grey, dark brown and white patterned overshirt
Young Man among Roses, portrait miniature, by Nicholas Hilliard, about 1587, England. Museum no. P.163-1910. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
painting of a man with long brown hair, in a painted frame of gold, with blue and white detailing
Portrait of an unknown man, watercolour painting, by Isaac Oliver, about 1595, England. Museum no. IS.60-1978. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
watercolour of whole and sliced lemons
Watercolour, by Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues, about 1575, England. Museum no. AM.3267W-1856. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Rough sketches of a male figure kneeling, a female figure in profile, an animal, a human leg
Details of a decorative scheme for the eastern vault of the Madonna della Steccata, watercolour sketch, by Parmigianino, about 1531 – 39, Parma, Italy. Museum no. 4898. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Watercolour of a man wearing a red coat and a hat, along with his five dogs
A Huntsman Resting with His Hounds, watercolour drawing, by Jacob Jordaens, about 1635, Southern Netherlands. Museum no. 4905. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
watercolour of a yellow lemon. It is bumpy in texture
Citron, watercolour, by Vincenzo Leonardi, about 1640, Rome, Italy. Museum no. E.426-2009. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
painting
Portrait of a European, watercolour painting, about 1610 – 20, India. Museum no. IM.9-1913. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Design drawing of arms, armour, horses' trappings and more, in gold, blue and white. Decorative and grand
Design for arms, armour, horses' trappings etc, for a pageant or triumph, watercolour drawing, by Jacopo Ligozzi, late 16th century, Italy. Museum no. 4785. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Watercolour of four yellow daffodils and a black and orange butterfly
Daffodils and a Red Admiral Butterfly, watercolour, by Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues, about 1575, France. Museum no. AM.3267A-1856. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Design for armour in red and gold. Left shows the armour worn, right shows the armour deconstructed
Armour for Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, from The Almain Armourer's Album, watercolour armour design by Jacob Halder, 1557 – 87, Greenwich, London. Museum no. D.588&A-1894. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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Renaissance Watercolours
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Background image: Background image: Daffodils and a Red Admiral Butterfly, watercolour, Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues, about 1575, England. Museum no. AM.3267A-1856. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London