Today was my first day at the museum. I started with one of the free museum tours they offer. This one focused on the Medieval and Renaissance periods. While I waited for the tour to start, I shot down to the ticket desk to get a ticket to one of the exhibitions, "Treasures of the Royal Courts: Tudors, Stuarts and Russian Tzars". After the tour I went through the Sculpture section and then to the Exhibition, "Photography not allowed". I saw one of Thomas a Becket's reliquaries and a fascinating wood inlay "portrait" of which I hope you can see the amazing detail in my photo below.
Another remarkable item that I saw today caused a stir in the art world when it was first "uncovered". It is a Rosellino terra cotta sculpture of Madonna and Child. When statues were commissioned, the artist first worked up a miniature in wax. The next step was a terra cotta figure that was larger than the wax one, but much smaller than what is eventually carved in marble. What is unique about this one, was the humanism that Rosellino imparted to the figures. This portrayal of Jesus and the Madonna was sacrilegious for that time and the commission was never executed in marble.
What a pity though. Look at Mary's face as she tickles the Baby Jesus' stomach. He in turn is laughing and it's not evident in my photo, but his feet are arched and his toes are flexed from being tickled.
After that I left the museum and walked all over. I was trying to find something for lunch, but either wasn't seeing anything that I could eat or appealed to me or I simply was not turning down the right streets! The more I walked, the hungrier I got and the further afield I was. All of a sudden I looked down an alley that looked interesting and at the end of it was a small pedestrian zone. Call it fate, but I walked into one of the cafes, asked if there were any Gluten Free items and wound up enjoying this yummy Orange Polenta Cake with a nicely crafted latte.
As I've walked along, I've been curious as to the construction time period of the various streets lined with their rows of attached houses. In the area I'm staying in, the rows of houses are all white plaster fronted with creamy yellowy-brown brick back walls. A few blocks to the east, it's all red brick and there is a lot of remodeling going on in this section. On some of the business streets, the red brick buildings are dated in the late 1880's and I wonder if the row houses date from the same period.
One more thing to cover before I close. Last night I was too tired to go further into the shopping experience that was Harrod's. The place was packed with tourists (like me) talking about bombings (not me) and generally milling around in packs. There were also some locals trying to take advantage of the 10% discount weekend when they buy things like the expensive support hose...one of the nice little British ladies who tried to help me find my way told me this. In between dodging gaggles of giggling Japanese teenagers and not even bothering to look at the price tags anymore, I managed to shoot a couple of photos that sum up the "high fashion" experience of Harrod's for me. I bought a pair of each of these shoes.