Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Four Muses: My Visit to The Victoria & Albert Museum

Muse  (myooz)
1. Greek Mythology Any of the nine daughters of Mnemosyne and Zeus, each of whom presided over a different art or science.
2. muse
a. A guiding spirit.
b. A source of inspiration.

Modern words deriving from the god Muses: Museum, Music.

During my recent trip to Europe, I found my own four Muses: The National Gallery, The Victoria & Albert Museum, Tate Modern and Musée du Louvre. This is a series of four blogs that will share my favorite works and possibly a few snapshots.

Part 2 of 4: The Victoria & Albert Museum

The Victoria & Albert Museum, or V&A, is one of the world's largest museums of decorative arts and design.  While this info should be excitement enough to visit, I was beside myself when I learned that "Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950" would be on exhibition during my stay!

The cue to purchase tickets to the exhibit was rather long, then I had a 2 1/2 hour wait to enter the exhibit.  If you are planning on visiting and do not have the time to wait around, it would be beneficial to purchase tickets online prior to your visit.  I, however, refused to do this because I didn't want anything that remotely resembled a schedule during these two weeks.  So, during my wait, I was able to meander through the other permanent exhibits...

This fabulous chandelier by Dale Chihuly greets you in the dome of the main entrance of the museum. It is enormous and absolutely breathtaking!

I could not get over how works from past and present were side by side throughout this museum, yet seemed to complement each other nicely.

Several museums that I visited during my trip had large open rooms that were full of natural light to house sculptural works.  I enjoyed the way each antique facade was remounted in this room alongside sculpture and other architectural pieces.

"Palpitation" by Charles West Cope

Love this installation by Cornelia Parker entitled "Breathless". It reminds me of New Orleans!

There was also a large number of Contemporary Ceramics on exhibit. I enjoyed the innocence and serenity of this piece, "Girl Baptised in Gold", by Kim Simonsson.

"Wall Installation" by Piet Stockmans reminded me of birds in flight or a 'wishing flower' (dandelion), both of which hold deep meaning for me.

Then, the moment I had been waiting for arrived! It was time to enter the Ballgowns exhibit.  There were two floors total with the upper floor being a few of the most current British fashion designs. This was the area I spent most of my time studying the materials and shapes of each garment...

But, of course, I had my favorite! It was a gown constructed from leather, aluminum and plastic, designed by Christopher Kane and worn by actress Shailene Woodley to the 2012 Met Ball.

Kane's rendering of his concept.

On the left: Woodley at the Met Ball.  On the right: a close-up of the fabric showing the chainmail and the embroidered designs within the metal.

Kane's Fall 2012 Ready-To-Wear frock version of the gown. LOVE the leather details!! Anyone looking for a Christmas present for me?? ;)

Stay tuned for Muse #3 - Tate Modern...


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