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V&A: More Than a Museum

March 5, 2017

When you have a first to step to V&A Museum, it is the Paul and Jill Ruddock Gallery which apparently catches your attention. The unconstrained arrangement of artifacts set within the space painted in white attracts the visitors the most than others. As the color white represents innocence, purity, and faith, walls covered in white give an impression of holiness in some degree.

As described on the V&A website, architectures and sculptures in this place are displayed in the context of the cityscape. At the end of the space, there is a gate-like architecture: Faith, the rood-loft from Netherlands. By passing through this monument, visitors face triptychs unfolded towards them and are driven to the inside of the Medieval and Renaissance section. So, in the museum, the rood-loft guides visitors in what direction they have to go intuitionally and, at the same time, acts as a partition or a connection between two galleries: Cityscape and Villa (50a) and Inside the Church (50b) as its original purpose: practically erected to screen off the nave from the choir in the cathedral.

It is natural few benches to be in the Paul and Jill Ruddock Gallery, as the room represents a cityscape. A lot of visitors sits and spends time on it. Therefore this space becomes more than just a museum where visitors give a glance to artifacts and pass by. Visitors go through the rood-loft and spend time on the bench as they are in the courtyard of the Renaissance. Not only appreciating a wonder of sculptures and architectures but also communicating within the gallery is possible in such arrangement of objects in the exhibition.

The bridge on the first floor is opened so that passengers can look down the display set on the ground floor and therefore, it allows them to enjoy it from the various perspectives. This shows how much V&A museum cares about the Medieval and Renaissance section compared to some others which only occupy a hallway as a display space.

According to the information given by V&A museum, the Faith, the choir screen built in 1600-1613, is one of the typical characteristics of Netherlandish churches of the 1200s-1600s. It is a partition between the choir and the nave, and functions as a background of the Mass performance and a platform of preaching, reading scripture or singing. However, interpretation of rood-loft goes different in the historical context. It has a deep relation with religious demonstration and betterment as it was where Lutherans were pushed to stand on the rood-loft and punished under the responsibility of disturbance which monasteries were attacked by citizens of Hertogenbosch in 1525. It is a symbol of a prevailing convention of the time and Roman Catholicism in Hertogenbosch.

References:

http://www.bourncreative.com/meaning-of-the-color-white/

http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O103046/faith-roodloft-van-norenberch-coenraed/

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