Plater cast of Michaelangelo's David, at the V&A Museum.

Victoria and Albert Museum, London. October, 2016.

A plaster cast of Michaelangelo’s David, at the V&A Museum in London.

This plaster cast of the celebrated marble sculpture of Michaelangelo’s David (now in the Accademia in Florence) was acquired by the South Kensington Museum (now the V&A) in 1857. It was presented as a gift to Queen Victoria by the grand duke of Tuscany, after he had prevented the export of an Italian renaissance painting by Ghirlandaio, which the National Gallery had hoped to acquire. The queen immediately presented the cast to the Museum, where it was initially displayed in the Art Museum. When the Architectural Courts (today known as the Cast Courts) were opened in 1873 it was shown there, along with other plasters after Michelangelo, and some of the other great sculptures of the Italian renaissance. This is where it can be seen today, an imposing and and arresting copy of one of the most famous sculptures in the history of European sculpture.