A Travellerspoint blog

V & A Day

We were up early(ish) and got mighty fine coffee from the Roastery Cafe down the road run by two New Zealanders (everywhere you go you take the Kiwis with you). We decided to make The V & A our first museum/gallery visit and wound up spending five hours there. The main attractions at the V & A at the moment are Botticelli Reimagined (March 5 – July 3) and Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear (April 16, 2016 – March 12, 2017).
Mounting a Botticelli exhibition without his most iconic work, The Birth of Venus, which never leaves the Uffizi in Florence wasn't going to stop the good folk at the V & A. They gathered together modern works inspired by the Birth Of Venus (David LaChapelle's Rebirth of Venus, Jeff Koons' Lady Gaga Artpop album cover, Warhol's 'Birth of Venus' etc) plus some of Sandro's less celebrated works, and some attributed to anonymous students working in his studio.

Even without the original to compare, the modern interpretations were underwhelming (although I do love a Warhol). I also thought up close the Renaissance originals were flat and dull. I was also taken by the hands in the works of Botticelli & co – the fingers look like skinny supermarket sausages. Maybe sausage fingers were considered to be the epitome of beauty and wealth back in the day.

The underwear exhibit was only two days into its run and overcrowded so we only caught glimpses of the scanties. That exhibition made me wish there was such a thing as (enforceable) gallery-going-etiquette – form one orderly line; spend no more than 3.5 minutes ogling each item and if you don't obey the rules the person behind you (me) can slap you on the back of the head, no questions asked.

Posted by Meli Clarke 13:21

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The Hermitage has two small da Vinci portraits. I know this because I read it in my guide book. I never saw them because the heaving throng of phone wielding tourists kept pushing and shoving their way to the front where they snapped a photo before peeling out of the pack. It was never ending. Meanwhile the two rooms of Rembrandt masterpieces were relatively empty while the building housing 'modern' art was ours to enjoy alone. My gallery going etiquette would be tougher by far - each visitor is asked, Are you here to take photos on your phone? If answer is, Yes, they are directed toward gift shop with their passports stamped, Do Not Admit To Any Gallery In The World.

by Richard Mortlock

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