Paintings etc @ V&A

10 January 2020 visit of
RAPHAEL CARTOONS before they are taken away for refurbishment,
CONSTABLE and TURNER paintings
views walking through the Museum

also a delicious lunch in the bright Member’s Room where in January vegans are given extra treats

walking to the Cartoons
walking through the SOUTH ASIA and ISLAMIC MIDDLE EAST rooms
‘in 16th century ceramic production in Iran was modest scale but when capital moved to Isfahan around 1600, the production of luxury dishes and wall tiles in a wide variety of styles and techniques rapidly increased’
‘these monochrome wares reference the highly esteemed Chinese celadon wares imported in earlier centuries but the bright turquoise gives it away as an Iranian copy

VAM Bottle 17th cent Iran
VAM Dish 17th century Iran

chiselled sandstone screens look like delicate lacework

VAM Agra, India Pink sandstone carved and pierced 19th century

on display a vast array of beautiful rugs and textiles, some intricately woven with jewellery
such extraordinary beauty
made for men, women and children!

RAPHAEL CARTOONS
these paintings are now considered masterpieces, but at the time they were made they mere sketches, of little value other than as an image for the weavers to copy. The tapestry being the artwork
some colours have faded, in this the colours can be seen better in the reflection in the water
still extraordinary
they are all in the V&A collection online

VAM Raphael cartoons The miraculous draught of fishes Cartoon for tapestry about 1515

JMW TURNER
East Cowes Castle – The Regatta starting for their moorings
described by John Ruskin as “one of the highest pieces of intellectual art existing”
it was painted for the Royal Yacht Club for the races at the Isle of Wight
Turner’s depiction of the sky always brings to mind the divine
but there also seems to be a ‘head’ facing the lone person in the barge in the foreground on the left which I found intriguing

VAM JMW Turner East Cowes Castle The Regatta (1827-28)

J CONSTABLE
Full scale study for ‘the Hay Wain'(ca. 1821)
‘to establish general balance of composition and colours
this is approximately 160 x 210cm with frame!
the size and skill are phenomenal

VAM John Constable Full Scale Study for The Hay Wain ca. 1821

Another full scale study is by Constable on display is for The Leaping Horse. The actual painting is at the Royal Academy who have a full description on their website including the detail that the “local Suffolk barge horses were specially trained to jump over three feet high barriers erected along the tow path in order to keep the cattle from straying”… though here “the horse is in fact leaping over a crossing which takes the horse and rider from Essex into his native Suffolk.” “John Constable depicts a scene in Suffolk where he spent his ‘careless boyhood’. He claimed that the Suffolk countryside ‘made him a painter'”

VAM John Constable Full scale study for the leaping horse

 

The Vale of Health painted 1820 -1822, interesting to see Hampstead Heath, busy even then

Hampstead Heath – Branch of Hill Pond (1828) painted after a storm
Hampstead Heath at its best!

Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop’s Ground (1823)
‘one of few commissioned works, the trees framing the Cathedral suggest symbolic level of interpretation unusual for John Constable
painted for his friend John Fisher

TAPESTRIES
The Three Fates – The Triumph of Death
The VAM website describes: The three fates, Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos, who spin, draw out and cut the thread of Life, represent Death in this tapestry, as they triumph over the fallen body of Chastity. This is the third subject in Petrarch’s poem The Triumphs. First, Love triumphs; then Love is overcome by Chastity, Chastity by Death, Death by Fame, Fame by Time and Time by Eternity.

VAM The Three Fates 1510-20 The Triumph of Death

The Triumph of Eternity over Time
“This is a fragment from a larger tapestry, from a series based on the poem I Trionfi (The Triumphs), written by the Italian poet Petrach between 1352 and 1374. The poem described a series of allegorical visions, and this scene represented the Triumph of Eternity over Time.

St Jerome and St Gregory accompany the chariot of Eternity. This is the last of the series of Triumphs, and in the complete scene, known from other examples, the chariot rolls over the bodies of all the vanquished: Love, Chastity, Death, Fame, Time. This fragment includes female figures representing two of the Fates, Clotho and Lachesis, crushed beneath the chariot. (In mythology the Fates controlled the span of human life; Clotho was the spinner, Lachesis was the drawer of lots, and Atropos represented the inevitable end to life).”

VAM The Triumph of Eternity over Time

To me it would make more sense to see the victories by Love, Chastity, Death, Fame and Time as circular, with the circle beginning again by Love vanquishing Time and so on, whereas Eternity prevails not by vanquishing but by holding them, within Eternity they can all exist and continue existing. This is why Eternity in a sense vanquishes them all, but it is an interesting story!

All the above and more are on the V&A website