What to see at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London: timetables, prices and tips

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Martí Micolau

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Founded in 1852, the Victoria and Albert Museum with 4,5 million exhibits, it is one of the largest museums in the world and features collections of Asian, Islamic and European decorative arts. Let's find out what to see at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London


  1. What to see and how to visit Victoria & Albert Museum
  2. Satan unleashes the rebel angels, William Blake
  3. Portrait of Esmeralda Brandini, Sandro Botticelli
  4. The three Graces, Antonio Canova
  5. Cartons for Tapestries, Raphael
  6. Delivery of the keys, Donatello
  7. Sketch for a young slave, Michelangelo
  8. Venice from the Giudecca Canal, William Turner
  9. Madonna of Loreto, Perugino
  10. Watermaker of Seville, Diego Velazquez
  11. Boat under Construction, John Constable
  12. Hours and prices
  13. User questions and comments

What to see and how to visit Victoria & Albert Museum

The collections are exhibited on six of the seven floors of the building and occupy an area of 45.000 square meters. The exhibition is divided into thematic areas and each floor presents various types of objects, such as jewels, crystals, weapons and armor, clothes, ceramics, furniture, architectural elements, paintings, metals and a rich collection of Italian Renaissance works. To organize the visit it is advisable to proceed by plan.

  • On the first floor it is possible to find temporary exhibitions, the Europa room 1600 - 1815 and the Middle Ages & Renaissance room 300 - 1500. To see: the cartoons for the tapestries of the Sistine Chapel by Raphael, the Betel Nut, The Ardabil Carpet, The Mazarin Chest, Samson Slaying at Philistine.
  • On the second floor there are the rooms dedicated to Asia and the Middle East, the Buddhism room, the Middle Ages & Renaissance 1350 - 1600 room, the garden and exhibition spaces for temporary exhibitions. To see: Leonardo da Vinci's notebook notes, The Great Bed of Ware from 1500, Michelangelo's sketches.
  • On the third floor there are large rooms dedicated to Britannia and the Middle Ages & Renaissance 300 - 1600 room and the room dedicated to Raphael's drawings and one dedicated to Fashion. To see: Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop's ground by Constable, Venice from Giudecca by Turner, Esmeralda Brandini by Botticelli.
  • On the fourth floor there are rooms dedicated to jewelry, photography, gold and silver mosaics, glass, two rooms dedicated to the twentieth century, two spaces for sculptures and the National Library. To see: Winged Head I, The Three Graces by Canova.
  • On the fifth floor still rooms dedicated to the art of Britain, a very large one dedicated to architecture, and two rooms on glass and glass of the contemporary age. Must see: The Heneage Jewel, Shakespeare's The First Folio.
  • The top floor it is almost entirely dedicated to ceramics and design. To see: Breuer's Club Armchair, Picasso's Cavalier sur sa Monture '(Mounted Cavalier).

Very interesting are the programs dedicated to children, which are offered for free with activities that involve the little ones, and their companions, trying to bring them closer to the themes of the museum through games, manual activities, reading and new technologies. All programs, which vary according to the exhibitions present and the period, can be consulted on the website.

Let's now see a small list of the most valuable works.

1- Satan unleashes the rebel angels, William Blake

Satan unleashes the rebel angels (1808, pen and watercolor), depicts the call to itself of all the angels expelled from heaven and is part of a series of 12 paintings inspired by the poems of John Miton

2 - Portrait of Esmeralda Brandini, Sandro Botticelli

Portrait of Esmeralda Brandini (1475, tempera on wood), is dedicated to Esmeralda Donati, mother of Michelangelo Brandini, one of the most important goldsmiths in the service of the Medici family. A peculiarity of the painting was its belonging to the pre-Raphaelite painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who made some personal taste adjustments.

3 - The three Graces, Antonio Canova

The three Graces (1813, white marble), represents the three goddesses of Greek mythology in an embrace enclosed by a wonderful marble veil that enhances the artist's qualities. Canova, of this subject, made two versions and the other is exhibited in St. Petersburg. Theseus and the Minotaur (1781, white marble), of Ovid inspiration taken from the story of Theseus and represents the Greek hero winning over the lifeless body of the monster. Particular is the sweetness and piety with which Theseus shows himself after the battle.

4 - Cartons for Tapestries, Raphael

Cartoons for Tapestries (1515 - 1516). During the early 1500s, Leo X decided to link his name to the Sistine Chapel and commissioned tapestries from the prestigious manufacturers of Brussels. The designs for the tapestries were instead requested of Raphael who, given the final destination and the rivalry with Michelangelo, willingly accepted to compete with him. Raphael found many difficulties for the realization, first of all the need to draw in a mirror, but despite everything he managed to complete the work on schedule for the final realization. At the end of the seventeenth century the cartoons were reassembled, glued on canvas and restored before being exhibited.

5 - Handing over the keys, Donatello

Delivery of the keys (1430, white marble), is a marble relief owned by the Medici and which perhaps decorated the altar of the Brancacci Chapel. The protagonist is the Virgin Mary kneeling and surrounded by the apostles and angels.

6 - Sketch for a young slave, Michelangelo

Sketch for a young slave (1516, wax), this model was for a sculpture for the tomb of Julius II and is an important testimony because the artist used to destroy all his models once the work was completed. In fact, very few are Michelangelo's models exhibited in museums, while the finished statue of the subject in question is exhibited at the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence.

7 - Venice from the Giudecca canal, William Turner

Venice from the Giudecca canal (1840, oil on canvas), is one of the works dedicated to the city and to Italy by the artist. Turner paints a Venice rich in color and delicate shades, simple but impressive, canons of the romantic current to which he belonged and of which he will be an innovator.

8 - Madonna of Loreto, Perugino

Madonna di Loreto (1507, oil on panel), commissioned from the artist by a nobleman from Perugia for his family chapel, has as its protagonist Mary with a child between Saints Jerome and Francis of Assisi and two symmetrical angels holding a crown . The graceful style highlights the subjects in almost suspended positions with respect to the backdrops and is impeccable, as evidenced by the subtle and precise design.

9 - Watermaker of Seville, Diego Velazquez

Dipper of Seville (1620, oil on canvas), clearly influenced by Caravaggio especially in the use of light, this painting, of which there is a second version exhibited in the Uffizi, highlights a humble and elderly subject who passes a glass of water to a young man. Before fully defining his style, Velazquez concentrated heavily on ordinary people intent on their work, trying to highlight both humility and pride.

10 - Boat under Construction, John Constable

Boat under Construction (1815, oil on canvas) on closer inspection, the main subject of Constable's painting is not the boat in the foreground, but the row of trees along the river behind the shipyard. The painting was almost entirely painted on the spot, a characteristic technique of the later Impressionist phase. Masterful use of warm color and the perfection of proportions that make the work almost a photo in real time.

Hours and prices

  • Every day from 10:00 to 17:45 - Friday from 10:00 to 22:00 - Closed on 24, 25 and 26 December
  • Best time to avoid queues: it must also be said that the enormous dimensions and the accesses facilitate the scrolling in, however it is advisable to visit it in the first hours of opening.
  • free. Some of the contemporary exhibitions require payment of the entrance fee.

Useful tips for visiting the attraction

  1. Buy the city card: to visit London it is advisable to purchase the London: Travelcard which entitles you to use all public transport in the city at a cost of € 16,00 (over 16 years) - € 8,00 (between 11 and 15 years) - Under 11 free - Can also be purchased for several days and weekly.
  2. Facilities and restrictions: the museum is accessible to disabled people even accompanied by dogs for assistance. Bags and backpacks are checked and can be deposited in the cloakroom at a cost of £ 1,00 (around € 1,17), bags that are too bulky must be deposited at a cost of £ 5,00 (around € 5,90). The bathrooms are located on all floors. Inside the museum there are several coffee bars. There is a well-stocked bookshop on the entrance floor.
  3. Minimum time: at least one full day. However, 8 hours will not be enough to fully visit the structure, the ideal would be to reach it on several occasions (at least two or three different days).
  4. Surroundings: Hyde Park and the Royal Albert Hall are in the immediate vicinity of the museum
  5. Interactive Map: To plan the visit it is advisable to view the interactive map of the official website.

Where is it and how to get there

  • On foot: from Victoria Station it is about 2,4 km by foot in 30 minutes. The main entrance is on Cromwell Road - Get Directions
  • By bus: you can take lines 14, 74 and 414 stopping at Cromwell Rd which is only two minutes from the entrances.
  • By metro: it is possible to arrive via the Circle and District metro lines with stop in South Kensington, about 5 minutes walk from the entrances.

Historical notes and curiosities: what to know in brief

Wanted by Queen Victoria to commemorate the death of her cousin Prince Albert of Saxony, the building originally had a light glass and iron structure, but over the years it was expanded using more resistant materials that caused fewer maintenance problems. The museum houses the largest collection of Italian Renaissance works outside our country and some casts of Italian sculptures. The museum also collects works of jewelry and musical instruments, including a Stradivarius violin.

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