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SENSUAL/VIRTUAL is the first annual theme at the Fitz explored through exhibitions, displays and events.

•    Discover the appeal of food – or not – in the multi-sensory exhibition Feast & Fast. And find out why we’re putting a giant pineapple on the Museum’s front lawn!

•    Explore the sensual allure of nudes in the print exhibition Rembrandt and the Nude.

•    Question the dialogue between sight and sound in Seeing Sound featuring works by Rossetti, Renoir and Picasso and music manuscripts by Handel and Brahms.

•    See a carefully recreated replica of Nicolas Poussin’s ‘great machine’ used by the artist to compose small wax figures to ‘rehearse’ his paintings. This virtual interpretation of Extreme Unction is positioned in front of the artwork in Gallery 7.

•    Travel from birdsong to the world of John Keat’s imagination as you look at the poet’s autograph manuscript of Ode to a Nightingale in Gallery 3.

‘Sensual’ contains all the pleasures our senses give us: sound of music; scent of roses; touch of silk, smooth bronze, or another person; taste of a well-cooked dinner and sight of something beautiful – a picture or pot, landscape, face or sky. Innocent or wicked, we might think our sensual responses rely on the roses, the dinner, the pot or person being physically there with us. But art relies on the idea that, with the help of an artist, we can imagine or evoke a sensation when nothing real is present.

Virtual today means something simulated by computer. If this use of the word is new, the concept is as old as art itself, embracing anything not quite what it claims to be. It can be the convincing replication of what already exists, or an artificially-produced experience persuading us that imagined is real. The creation of the virtual started as soon as artists copied what we can see, and set down what they’d like us to see. Virtual reality. Nowadays, all sorts of physical sensation can be replicated. The concepts converge now that we can create sensory pleasures that rely on what we do experience and compensate for what we cannot. It’s a dangerous, exciting new world.


Immerse yourself in our collection and experience the Fitz in a way you haven’t before!


Posted on : 
Monday 7 October 2019