Cult Of Beauty at the V&A

The V&A’s Cult of Beauty exhibition opened over the weeked. You can read my feature on the Aesthetic movement in the Independent on Sunday.

The highlight of the exhibition comes right at the end. Alfred Gilbert’s statue of Eros, or to be more precise Anteros, or to be even more precise, The Angel of Christian Charity, is easily overlooked in its usual home of Piccadilly Circus, located as it is in the second worst place in all of London. But lowered to eye level and removed of surrounding neon, tourists and traffic, it turns out to be a figure of real beauty, simultaneously delicate and robust, and gleaming in its shiny aluminium (this is a recent cast).

The rest of the exhibition is similarly eye-catching, as you wander round the gallery following what seems to be an endless procession of portraits of dark-haired, brown-eyed women painted between 1860 and 1900 by the Aesthetes. William Brown, the fictitious schoolboy and one of my chief inspirations, always admitted a soft spot for a certain kind of women: dark-haired, brown-eyed and dimpled. He was clearly inspired by the Aesthetes.


6 responses to “Cult Of Beauty at the V&A

  1. I always like looking at paintings from the 1800s as it makes me realise that women were MEANT to have large flabby bellies, very little muscle definition, and do little other than sit on chaise longues and look at their fingernails. Not sure about the brown hair though – everyone knows blondes are far better.

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  3. Out of interest, if Picadilly Circus is second, where is the worst place in London!?

    Great blog btw.

  4. Tottenham. All of it.

  5. I was interested but now I’m really interested in seeing this exhibition after seeing the pics here. I love Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Frederic Leighton and William Morris (I live in E17 to be in William Morris-land). This exhibition was made for me! I’d even considering paying which, quite frankly, is a rare thing to hear me say. Wow, thank you for highlighting this for me. Wonderful stuff, as ever.

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