Prince Albert’s Philanthropic Project of the South Kensington Museum

South-Kensington-Museum

Prince Albert owned the worlds largest collection of Raphael reproductions with over 50 unique portraits. Albert commissioned a photographer to go into the Vatican Museum in Rome, Italy and take photographs of all Raphael works. These photographs of course lacked color being a product of their time and technology, so hand painted versions were made using chromolithography technology. The intention of the collection was not simply to collect but rather to draw people into Windsor Castle to teach them about art history, which is actually the format in which modern day art historians teach artwork to students; in a photo library. Unlike most monarchs, Albert and Victoria wanted to feed the public with knowledge, art, and science. Albert believed that industry could place great works of art into the hands of the masses using manufacturing techniques which would cut costs dramatically. Albert was especially interested in batteries and their connection to various metals in different solutions. This borderline obsession was sparked when Albert seen a real rose turned to gold by dipping it into a chemical solution of chemicals which coated the rose, permanently changing its outer layer. This process is referred to as “electroforming” and involves dropping a dried rose into an electrically conductive material and attached to a battery. A solution of precious metal is prepared, typically gold, after which the rose is left to sit within the solution for a few moments. The rose attracts metal particulate within the solution because of its coating. Albert put on a great exhibition entitled the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations in 1851 which cost £335,742 which equates to £46,482,000 as of 2019 when accounting for inflation. The revenue from this project was £522,000 which equates to £72,269,000 as of 2019. Over 6,000,000 (6 million) people attended and exhibits from 25 countries were featured. Albert took the profits from this endeavor and purchased South Kensington Museum, a building which would be used solely for art, science, and industry to be displayed for the public. Because of Alberts involvement and enormous success, South Kensington Museum started to become referred to as “Albertopolis” meaning “City of Albert” in Greek. South Kensington Museum is the embodiment of Alberts enlightened belief that culture and learning should be at the very heart of any successful nation. South Kensington Museum opened on 1857 and is referred to during the modern day as the “Victoria and Albert Museum” or the abbreviation “V&A”. South Kensington Museum is the world’s largest museum of applied and decorative arts and design and sculpture and houses a permanent collection of over 2,270,000 (2.27 million) pieces. Alberts favorite place to get away in Buckingham Palace is the Print Room where his collection of Raphael’s are stored. Victoria could not bear to even enter the room for months after Alberts untimely death at age 42 in 1861

The Turin Shroud of Christianity

Turin-Shroud

The Turin Shroud which is believed by Christians to have been wrapped around Jesus Christ after his death and to have been left behind by Christ post-resurrection, is approximately 14’6” long by 3’6” wide and bears the mysterious image of the full front and back of a man, a person who appears to have met a violent death. The Turin Shroud negative image was stumbled upon by amateur photographer Secondo Pia in 1898 whilst taking the first archeological photographs of the shroud. Today, the Turin Shroud is kept within the royal chapel of the Turin Cathedral in Italy, under lock and key in a climate controlled, bulletproof encasing. The Catholic Church allowed scientific examination of the Turin Shroud in 1978 and in 1988, but the piece is rarely placed on display for the public, with the last showing drawing over 2,000,000 (2 million) people in 2015. Blood samples found upon the Turin Shroud found that whoever supplied it had blood type AB, a rare blood type found only in 3% of the population, however more common in the Middle East. Much of the skepticism related to the Turin Shroud stems from the fact that it was not historically documented and recorded until nearly 1400 years after the death of Christ, during the Medieval period in 1349. It is suspected that the Turin Shroud could have belonged to the last grandmaster of the Knights Templar, Jacques de Molay. After being arrested by Philip IV, the then king of France, de Molay was tortured, had a crown of thorns placed upon his head, and was then crucified in 1314. Scientists have theorized that because de Molay was wrapped in a long piece of cloth, the lactic acid built up during torture as well as de Molay’s own blood mixed with the frankincense which was used to keep the cloth white, provided an imprint after his death. The last known historical description and image of de Molay actually matches quite well with the image on the Turin Shroud, both images depicting a male with a large nose, shoulder length hair parted in the center, a crown of thorns, and a full beard

Ansel Adams’ Genius and Process

Ansel-Adams

The American photographer Ansel Adams pushed the mechanical process of photography into an art form during the 1920’s. Adams’ method was to work backward from the image he had visualized within his mind and then anticipate the moment when the light and subject could be seen at their most illuminating. During Adams’ day, color photography was considered crass, as color photography was thought not to contain nuance and the subtlety which matched the real world. Black and white photography allowed for a beautiful range of tonalities which was abstract but still considered to be realism artwork during the period. Today, with much more sophisticated technology and color materials, the world can be photographed accurately with many different nuances. Ironically, black and white now appears as an abstract artistic medium in comparison to full color photographs