Altar piece, Florence, 1500-1510
The history of the museum started in 1852 as the Museum of Manufactures. Nowadays the museum is huge, it has six levels and 145 galleries. To view all of that you will need several days. And if your time is short, what rooms is it better to visit first of all?
My advice would be to go to the Cast Courts. These rooms are filled with plaster casts of famous works of art and architecture. In one place you will see the famous Trajan's column from the forum in Rome, and Raphael's "School of Athens" (the original is in the Vatican), altar decorations, chairs and other furniture of some famous cathedrals, including works by Giovanni Pisano, the sculpture "Moses and Slaves" by Michelangelo, as well as his famous six-meter high David.
The Trajan column (and tiny me near it)
But poor David shocked not only her but the museum's visitors as well. Many ladies fainted, while their husbands wrote complaints to the director of the museum. Therefore, in order to spare the blushes of wives of senior officials a large fig leaf was made, which had to cover David's "embarassing" part of body during any high officials visits. The leaf was attached with two special hooks.
The next rooms, which you should certainly visit are Jewelry galleries. There are some 3500 jewelry pieces from the very old ones - like Bronze Age gold collar from Ireland, to the modern ones made from recycled materials.
Empress Josephine's jewelry, 19c
Necklace: diamonds, pearls, saphire. France, 1670
The necklace given by Napoleon to his adopted daughter, 1806г
One of the most beautiful rooms of the museum are the halls of the Asian art: Indian, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, and Islamic. Each of them is decorated in the style of a particular culture. Works of art, brought from the British colonies - everyday and ritual objects, clothing, games, furniture, carpets, weapons, ornaments, books - are now on display in these rooms.
Tippoo's tiger, India, 18c
Chess set, India, 19c
A goddess, India, 1150-1200
Ceramics, Тurkey, 1550-1575
The number one exhibit of the Islamic collection is the world's oldest Persian carpet, the silk-and-wool Ardabit Carpet dating from the 1540. There are many examples of Islamic ceramics, clothing and several oil paintings in this room as well.
Sitting Buddha, Tibet, 1700-1800
Samurai armour, Japan, 1741
Ivory ship model, China, 1800
Another interesting rooms are those devoted to Europe. Clothing, guns, knives, figurines, fans, dishes, mantel clocks, sculpted busts, altars, stained glass, paintings and drawings are here on display.
Madonna with a child, Austria, 1480
Stained glass window, Germany, 1520-30
St.Margueritte altar, Germany, 1520
Clock, Britain, 1824
Snuff-box, Germany, 1765
For those who is interested in fashion, a collection of the European clothing from the early 19th century to the present day will be interesting . There is a wedding dress of the 1830, the dresses of Grace Kelly and Princess Diana, and stunning evening gowns by famous designers.
Wedding dress, 1830
Grace Kelly's dress, 1959
Many rooms in the museum display collections of silver, ceramics, glass and metal. Porcelain figurines, glass vases, iron keys and locks, silver bowls - the rooms are stuffed with high-quality artefacts.
Silver wine cooler, Britain, 1884г