3-2-C: Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The V&A is known for many things: full-sized casts of Michelangelo’s David (1501-4) and Trajan’s Column, the Raphael’s tapestry cartoons, the ‘Green’ Dining Room designed by William Morris, the Indian barrel organ called Tippoo’s Tiger (1793), Matthew Cotes Wyatt’s sculpture of the dog Bashaw, the Faithful Friend of Man (1832-34), Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s The Day…

Encountering the Past

In a chapter of Cynthia Freedland’s book, Portraits & Persons, the philosopher proposes that portraits are images of persons that fulfil one or more of the following features: Likenesses Psychological characterisations Proofs of presence or ‘contact’ Manifestations of a person’s ‘essence’ or ‘air’ Such criteria may seem obvious but, in practice, they are particularly difficult…

A Sense of Rembrandt

Leiden, 1624. After a six-month apprenticeship with the painter Pieter Lastman in Amsterdam, a young, 18-year-old Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn moved back to his native city of Leiden and opened his own studio in 1624 or 1625. Sometime within this period of artistic development, Rembrandt painted an elusive set of five paintings, The Five Senses…