Posts Tagged ‘V&A’

Trip to London to the V&A to see the Sistine Tapestries

October 22, 2010

I set off to London much later than I had intended. There were various reasons for this. I had picked up my laptop the previous day and was playing around on the net until sometime gone 3-30am and so I got up late. Thelma raised concerns over a facebook group. On reflection I shared those concerns and such was my concern that I wrote a facebook note before setting off to share my concern. Having outlaid £100 to get my laptop fixed and add more memory, and lacking a money tree in my garden, I had to go on a detour to the bank to replenish my funds. The net result was I missed a fast train had to catch a slow stopping train.

I was on my way to London to hopefully see the Sistine Tapestries which were on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum and this was the last week.

I had seen them the previous week and they were breathtaking. I had hoped then to take my lovely friend Sian but sadly she was very poorly. I suggested the following week (which was the previous day) but though on the way at long last to recovery she felt too weak. We had tickets for that day. I decided to take a chance and hope I could get in.

From Waterloo I walked to Covent Garden to eat at Food for Thought in Neal Street. On my way I popped into St Paul’s Church where I said a prayer for Sian and lit a candle for her.

Lunch was Jerusalem artichoke soup with some excellent walnut and sage bread (not too sure about the sage), a little salad, followed by strawberry and banana scrunch. They remembered they had not yet given me the recipe for the very delicious chickpea and spinach soup I had enjoyed the previous week.

At Food for Thought I did my first two good deeds of the day. I advised some French people how to deal with a camera shop that had ripped them off and sold them a faulty video camera. As they were interested in film, I told them about Just Do It and its unusual fundraising and that if they gave within the next ten days Lush would match their donation.

Late afternoon I finally I made it to the V&A. The doorman remembered me from last week (I am not sure if that is good or bad). I was in luck. Tickets were available for the Sistine Tapestries by Raphael.

Last week when I walked into the room they took my breath away. I thought on my second visit I would be less impressed, but the opposite, they had an even greater impact on me. I think because I had already seen them, this time I paid greater attention to detail.

Close up to one of the tapestries and looking at the cloaks of the gentleman, the folds were as though in 3D. The attention to detail both in the background and foreground. The weavers took upon themselves artistic license and took the opportunity to show off their skills.

On leaving I bought three books on Raphael and the Sistine Tapestries. I had already bought one the previous week. These will be Christmas presents and were in part my reason for wishing to go again. [see Raphael: Cartoons and Tapestries for the Sistine Chapel]

Paulo Coelho had asked that to celebrate his hitting 3 million friends on facebook we all prayed on this day at 6pm local time. On leaving the V&A I asked if there was a church nearby. I was told The Oratory around the corner next to the V&A. For those who did not wish to pray carry out a random act of kindness. Two of which I had already performed (a third to be carried out later). [See Paulo Coelho hits 3,000,000 friends on Facebook]

I saw a couple of people go in a side door, so I slipped in behind them. I found myself in a gloomy place with very little lighting. But much as a church would have been centuries ago. A service was taking place in a side chapel.

On the dot of 6pm, a Mass took place. It finished after half an hour, or so I thought as many people got up and left, but what then took place was a silent mediation. Quite what was happening I do not know as the service was conducted in Latin.

I was entranced by a monk in blood red robes who sat in a position of meditation throughout. I so wished to question him but of course I could not. For some reason he seemed more like a Buddhist monk. I thought to question him when he left, but when he did he caught me by surprise.

From South Kensington I went back to Food for Thought to eat. A decision I regretted. I wished I had gone to one of the Indian restaurants in the back streets near Euston Station, but Covent Garden was easiest to get to. I was disappointed as the menu was no different to earlier in the day (even the soup was the same). When I left I picked up a few scones.

I could have gone straight home, and was very tired, but decided to have a wander around Soho. I was shocked by how much it had changed. Always run down and a little seedy, but many little bars and restaurants. Now many chain eateries, up market places with out-of-place shop fronts.

I used to know my way around Soho as I often used to cut through, but I am sorry to say I got lost and disorientated. I was though tired.

Finally I found myself heading to where I wished to be Leicester Square.

On the edge of Leicester Square I found an amazing guitarist Paul Sebastian performing on the street. He was a natural. He could play without even trying. A few laid back notes and you knew what he was playing. We had a chat and he told me he had been playing for around 15 years. At least I think he told me something like that. I picked up a copy of a CD he had (on reflection I should have got him to sign it) palingenesis. It cost me £8, whether money down the drain I do not yet know. I mentioned Playing for Change and we both laughed at the irony.

In Leicester Square there was a fun fair. A film star was dropped off for what I assumed was a film premier, but I have no idea who.

It was then catch the train home. The train was crowded, standing room only. We pay some of the highest fares in Europe for a Third World service.

On my way to catch the train I did my third good deed of the day. A girl was being attacked. I did not intervene, I just stood there and luckily it was sufficient. What was shocking was that there was many people milling around and they walked on by.

I walked home from the station and got home a little before midnight.

Once home and before writing this account, I had a mug of black tea and one of the scones from Food for Thought. It was delicious. Very light and yet at the same time crisp and crunchy. I must get the recipe to share.

This evening and Saturday I will be at the Guildford Book Fair for its closing weekend. I usually look forward to the Guildford Book Fair but this year it has been a grave disappointment. Nothing that I have really fancied. It also clashes with the Anarchist Bookfair in London, which I would have liked to have visited as I missed it last year.

Synchronicity: When I arrived at The Oratory I lit a candle in one of the side chapels for my lovely friend Sian. I chatted with a Spanish couple who also lit a candle. They were from Santiago de Compostela where in the summer Paulo Coelho was for the Jubilee Celebrations and his wife Christina had an art exhibition. [see El Camino de Santiago]

Sistine Tapestries by Raphael

October 14, 2010
Christ's Charge to Peter

Christ's Charge to Peter

The Sacrifice at Lystra

The Sacrifice at Lystra

The Healing of the Lame Man

The Healing of the Lame Man

Leo X – a pope of pre-eminent virtue and amplitude – was said to have founded after many centuries an age of gold. — Paolo Giovio, 1551

When Pope Benedict XVI visited England last month he came bearing a gift, well at least a loan. He brought with him the Sistine Tapestries by Raphael.

Commissioned almost 500 years ago by the Medici Pope Leo X for the Sistine Chapel and currently on display at the V&A in London, this is the first time the tapestries have been reunited with the original cartoons.

The tapestries are breathtaking. Amazing detail. For example The Miraculous Draft of Fishes shows in the distance a small town and small figures can be seen watching the scene from the shore.

The tapestries and cartoons are an example of High Renaissance Art. Michelangelo did the ceiling, Raphael the tapestries. The tapestries were woven at the workshops of Pieter van Aelst in Brussels, the centre for tapestry weaving in Europe. The tapestries are woven from threads of wool, silk, silver and gold.

The tapestries depicts Acts by St Peter and St Paul.

The Miraculous Draft of Fishes
Christ Charge to Peter
The Sacrifice of Lystra
The Healing of the Lame Man

I have never been to the V&A before. When I was younger I used to visit the other nearby museums, but never the V&A.

I had hoped to visit with my lovely friend Sian, but sadly she is poorly. I have booked two tickets for next week. Hopefully she will be well enough to visit next week.

Also see

Raphael: Cartoons and Tapestries for the Sistine Chapel

Raphael: Cartoons and Tapestries for the Sistine Chapel

The Sistine tapestries

Raphael’s Sistine tapestries: the weavers’ cut

Raphael’s Sistine tapestries at the V&A

Art inspired by God

A day out in London

October 14, 2010

Should I should I not go to a meeting of Climate Rush at Toynbee Hall in London? That be the question. I could combine it with a visit in the afternoon to the V&A to see the Sistine Tapestries by Raphael and that is what I did.

I set off later than I wished. I decided first to eat at Food For Thought in Covent Garden. I could have got the tube, but it is a pleasant walk across Hungerford Bridge over the Thames, then through Victoria Embankment Gardens.

From Hungerford Bridge there is a stunning view downstream.

I looked in St Paul’s Church and found a cat either Inigo or Jones curled up on a prayer cushion.

I have been eating at Food for Thought for many years. It is one of the best places to eat in London. I had chickpea and spinach soup (for which I am hoping for the recipe) with their delicious bread, followed by salad, followed by banana and strawberry scrunch washed down with a cup of not very good tea.

I would also recommend their cookbook, New Food for Thought.

From Covent Garden tube station direct line to South Kensington.

I used to be a frequent visitor to the other museums in South Kensington, but never the V&A.

The Sistine Tapestries were breathtaking and well worth seeing.

From South Kensington direct tube to Aldgate East and my meeting at Toynbee Hall with Climate Rush on climate change and what activists can do. The meeting was packed and well worth attending.

After I went to a launch and fundraising party for a documentary film Just Do It.

Then home.

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