Thursday, September 18, 2008

Victoria and Albert Museum

Victoria and Albert Museum: I

The displays on the church in this museum are a good contrast of pre and post Reformation sentiments in Britain. Before the Reformation, churches were furnished to appeal to the senses. They were richly decorated with ornate tapestries and ostentatious robes and costumery. Even the Bibles--a costly work in itself--were ornately decorated. Edward VI and Elizabeth I, Protestant minded royalty, reformed this pagaentry to plainer displays. The Puritan moralists attacked the ostentatious displays of the church. Reformers replaced crucifixes in the churches with royal coat of arms. The pre-Reformation painting on display (no 23) shows a crucifixion scene. This painting is an example of the catholic sentiments of the time.

Victoria and Albert Museum: II
A Young Man Among Roses, Hilliards painting about court life, is a representation of a courtiers devotion. The coutier declares his devotion to the queen with his hand on his heart. He wears her colors and symbols in his dress. Clothing was one of the most popular way to express ones wealth and feelings in the times. In this painting, the painter and the sitter of the paining devised the symbolism together.

Sadly, the display of Elizabeth was under a canvas wrap the day I visited the museum. I asked the curator when the display would be available for viewing, and she looked at me like I was plotting a robbery. Must be the red hair. I'm sick of discrimination.

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