Baroque at the V&A

By Alize Morand

5 July, 2009

Tags: , , , , ,

Category: Art


As you might have noticed here or here, I love the V&A exhibitions, and just the museum itself, I could literally work for them! Grandeur, opulence and magnificence are the key words for their latest exhibition: completely and utterly Baroque

“Baroque art did not stand shyly by, hoping to be noticed. Baroque art was designed to move, impress and please the beholder. The aim was to appeal to all the senses. Seeking a combined and integrated effect, these total works of art sought to affect not only the hearts and minds of onlookers, but also to touch their very souls.”

The first global style, baroque was more than an art movement, since it encompassed fine arts, clothing, architecture, sculpture, decorative arts, and led to trade between countries and continents for precious materials and techniques.

I was personally very interested in the gorgeous jewellery – that some might deem ‘too much’, but that evoked much coveted chunky necklaces by Lanvin to me – talk about modernity! Not to mention the statues and painting by master of the Baroque era Bernini, whose work is regarded as ‘the total work of art’.

But the highlight of this wonderfully curated exhibition was for me the Theatre Room, detailing the style of performances of ballet, drama and opera – you can actually download some Baroque music from the V&A website for free. A sign of power for rival European courts, theatre also served as a tool for propaganda in Louis XIV‘s cultural policy to control the nobility.

Just a look at the magnificent man’s theatre dress above, made for tragic heroes roles, and which shape enabled the actor to dance, is enough to understand the level of sophistication and handcrafted detailing Baroque clothing holds. Embroidered with silver and jewels, I think I have just uncovered Balmain, Gucci and DG‘s inspiration of late. Moreover, Harper’s Bazaar UK, that I received this morning, claims velvet is the new thing for Autumn 09. Don’t look any further!

The exhibition is on until 19 July at the Victoria & Albert Museum in South Kensington. There is quite a lot to see, so plan some time for your visit. Don’t miss it, it really is quite fabulous. Affordable student discounts too! Enjoy.

Man’s theatre costume – Italy, 1740-60, Silk velvet with silver strip and thread embroidery

Apollo Flaying Marsyas – Sculpture, Antonio Corradini (1668-1752), Venice, 1710-50, Marble

4 Responses to “Baroque at the V&A”

  1. Those details are so intricate and beautiful, the exhibition sounds really interesting!

  2. Looks like a really great exhibition.
    The dress in the picture is beautiful!

  3. How I do wish I could go; V&A is one of my favorite museums. Sadly, I’ve only been able to go there once ):

    Velvet indeed! It’s been everywhere, as of late, showing in various editorials about “English countryside” (or something or another). I’ve always found velvet to be a hard material to wear, but I wouldn’t mind trying a velvet blazer a la Emma Watson, or a velvet LBD. Hm…

    La C.

  4. Theresa: Such intricate details you’re right. You should go if you have he chance!
    Emma: I know, it’s a man’s dress but it’s really gorgeous.. why don’t men care more about their looks and clothing as in the Baroque era, ha! 😉
    La C.: Velvet, yep! I don’t know if it’s for me yet, it reminds me so much of my childhood dresses! But who knows, it’s one of these trends that grows on you! x

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