Medieval mind-blowers



There's big, and then there are the staggeringly big new Medieval and Renaissance Galleries at London's Victoria & Albert Museum. These 10 galleries would be a museum in their own right in any other city on earth, with more than 2,000 exhibits filling their beautifully designed spaces. On one wall alone hangs the entire front elevation of Sir Paul Pindar's house, a surviving Tudor building from the Great Fire of London in 1666. Walk around the corner, and there's not just an altar from a 16th-century Italian village but the entire chapel from Santa Chiara, in Florence. The scale, the ambition, is simply incredible.

Opened in December after a seven-year, £30m refit, the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries are an absolute triumph, throwing light on what have been inaccurately called the Dark Ages. Not that the V&A's curators would ever call a period beginning with the fall of the Roman empire and ending at the High Renaissance in 1600 by such a historically dubious term. One of its main aims is to change people's perception of medieval times as a cesspit of plague, war and poverty.

And these exhibits - almost all beautifully presented and explained - highlight the exact opposite: it was also a period of blazing colour, of gold, jewels, tapestries. Of classic architecture, stunning sculpture and intricate furniture. The real triumph is that all of the objects feel real and relevant, rather than dusty museum pieces. The largest gallery actually takes on the appearance and atmosphere of a great courtyard in a renaissance palazzo. There are fountains, sculptures and a huge choir screen. Natural light pours in and, from a balcony above, you can gaze out on what the museum calls The Renaissance City. Even that balcony is from a renaissance palace: you almost expect Romeo to be below, serenading visitors.

But the new galleries also succeed in making stars of the smaller exhibits, too. In a special case is one tiny notebook which, up to this point, has been so precious it has never been publicly shown. But now everyone can see one of the five Leonardo da Vinci notebooks owned by the V&A, full of his scrawling, tiny handwriting. Next to it is a touchscreen so that grubby fingers can turn pages mere mortals cannot touch.

Just metres away sits The Luck of Edenhall. The story of this precious enamelled glass beaker is miraculous: made in Syria in the 13th century, it is thought to have been brought back to Europe as an exotic trophy by a crusader. Centuries later it was revered as a cup left behind by fairies disturbed while drinking at the Garden of Edenhall. One screamed: "If this cup should break or fall, Farewell the Luck of Edenhall." And so it was guarded more carefully than life itself.

The galleries are full of these romantic stories, and while you can stomp through centuries in an afternoon, you could just as easily spend an entire day marvelling at the biggest and best collection of Italian renaissance sculpture outside Italy. Gradually, though, a picture builds: of a time and culture that wasn't so far removed from our own after all. In that context, a huge facade of a house is just as important as a notebook or a gilded spoon: they all tell linked stories. They have religious significance, they are status symbols, they highlight the point that the inquisitive - and perhaps acquisitive - nature of man is timeless.

The exhibits may be on display in London, but somehow the galleries stand apart from England's capital. They're truly a space for and about our world, and where we've come from. And when you get home and eat dinner on a table made from flatpack furniture, using dull cutlery from a supermarket, you have to wonder: has it all been progress?

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE.

Read part three: the age of the electric vehicle begins

Read part two: how climate change drove the race for an alternative 

Read part one: how cars came to the UAE

UK - UAE Trade

Total trade in goods and services (exports plus imports) between the UK and the UAE in 2022 was £21.6 billion (Dh98 billion). 

This is an increase of 63.0 per cent or £8.3 billion in current prices from the four quarters to the end of 2021.

 

The UAE was the UK’s 19th largest trading partner in the four quarters to the end of Q4 2022 accounting for 1.3 per cent of total UK trade.

Brahmastra: Part One - Shiva

Director: Ayan Mukerji

Stars: Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and Amitabh Bachchan

Rating: 2/5

MATCH INFO

Who: France v Italy
When: Friday, 11pm (UAE)
TV: BeIN Sports

Company Profile

Company name: Big Farm Brothers

Started: September 2020

Founders: Vishal Mahajan and Navneet Kaur

Based: Dubai Investment Park 1

Industry: food and agriculture

Initial investment: $205,000

Current staff: eight to 10

Future plan: to expand to other GCC markets

RESULTS

Bantamweight

Victor Nunes (BRA) beat Siyovush Gulmamadov (TJK)

(Split decision)

Featherweight

Hussein Salim (IRQ) beat Shakhriyor Juraev (UZB)

(Round 1 submission, armbar)

Catchweight 80kg

Rashed Dawood (UAE) beat Otabek Kadirov (UZB)

(Round-1 submission, rear naked choke)

Lightweight

Ho Taek-oh (KOR) beat Ronald Girones (CUB)

(Round 3 submission, triangle choke)

Lightweight

Arthur Zaynukov (RUS) beat Damien Lapilus (FRA)

(Unanimous points)

Bantamweight

Vinicius de Oliveira (BRA) beat Furkatbek Yokubov (RUS)

(Round 1 TKO)

Featherweight

Movlid Khaybulaev (RUS) v Zaka Fatullazade (AZE)

(Round 1 rear naked choke)

Flyweight

Shannon Ross (TUR) beat Donovon Freelow (USA)

(Unanimous decision)

Lightweight

Dan Collins (GBR) beat Mohammad Yahya (UAE)

(Round 2 submission D’arce choke)

Catchweight 73kg

Martun Mezhulmyan (ARM) beat Islam Mamedov (RUS)

(Round 3 submission, kneebar)

Bantamweight world title

Xavier Alaoui (MAR) beat Jaures Dea (CAM)

(Unanimous points 48-46, 49-45, 49-45)

Flyweight world title

Manon Fiorot (FRA) v Gabriela Campo (ARG)

(Round 1 RSC)

The Lowdown

Us

Director: Jordan Peele

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseqph, Evan Alex and Elisabeth Moss

Rating: 4/5

RACECARD

6pm: Abu Dhabi Land Forces - Maiden (TB) Dh82,500 (Dirt) 1,200m
6.35pm: Dubai Naval Forces - Maiden (TB) Dh82,500 (D) 1,400m
7.10pm: Sharjah Air Force - Maiden (TB) Dh82,500 (D) 1,200m
7.45pm: Ajman Presidential Guard - Handicap (TB) Dh95,000 (D) 1,200m
8.20pm: Dubai Creek Mile – Listed (TB) Dh132,500 (D) 1,600m
8.55pm: Umm Al Quwain and Ras Al Khaimah Joint Aviation - Rated Conditions (TB) Dh95,000 (D) 1,600m
9.30pm: Fujairah National Service and Reserve - Handicap (TB) Dh82,500 (D) 1,400m

Lewis Hamilton in 2018

Australia 2nd; Bahrain 3rd; China 4th; Azerbaijan 1st; Spain 1st; Monaco 3rd; Canada 5th; France 1st; Austria DNF; Britain 2nd; Germany 1st; Hungary 1st; Belgium 2nd; Italy 1st; Singapore 1st; Russia 1st; Japan 1st; United States 3rd; Mexico 4th

Tenet

Director: Christopher Nolan

Stars: John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Dimple Kapadia, Michael Caine, Kenneth Branagh 

Rating: 5/5

SERIES INFO

Afghanistan v Zimbabwe, Abu Dhabi Sunshine Series

All matches at the Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi

Test series

1st Test: Zimbabwe beat Afghanistan by 10 wickets
2nd Test: Wednesday, 10 March – Sunday, 14 March

Play starts at 9.30am

T20 series

1st T20I: Wednesday, 17 March
2nd T20I: Friday, 19 March
3rd T20I: Saturday, 20 March

TV
Supporters in the UAE can watch the matches on the Rabbithole channel on YouTube

The five pillars of Islam
RACE CARD

6.30pm Maiden (TB) Dh82.500 (Dirt) 1,400m

7.05pm Handicap (TB) Dh87,500 (D) 1,400m

7.40pm Handicap (TB) Dh92,500 (Turf) 2,410m

8.15pm Handicap (TB) Dh105,000 (D) 1,900m

8.50pm UAE 2000 Guineas Trial (TB) Conditions Dh183,650 (D) 1,600m

9.25pm Dubai Trophy (TB) Conditions Dh183,650 (T) 1,200m

10pm Handicap (TB) Dh102,500 (T) 1,400m

Top investing tips for UAE residents in 2021

Build an emergency fund: Make sure you have enough cash to cover six months of expenses as a buffer against unexpected problems before you begin investing, advises Steve Cronin, the founder of DeadSimpleSaving.com.

Think long-term: When you invest, you need to have a long-term mindset, so don’t worry about momentary ups and downs in the stock market.

Invest worldwide: Diversify your investments globally, ideally by way of a global stock index fund.

Is your money tied up: Avoid anything where you cannot get your money back in full within a month at any time without any penalty.

Skip past the promises: “If an investment product is offering more than 10 per cent return per year, it is either extremely risky or a scam,” Mr Cronin says.

Choose plans with low fees: Make sure that any funds you buy do not charge more than 1 per cent in fees, Mr Cronin says. “If you invest by yourself, you can easily stay below this figure.” Managed funds and commissionable investments often come with higher fees.

Be sceptical about recommendations: If someone suggests an investment to you, ask if they stand to gain, advises Mr Cronin. “If they are receiving commission, they are unlikely to recommend an investment that’s best for you.”

Get financially independent: Mr Cronin advises UAE residents to pursue financial independence. Start with a Google search and improve your knowledge via expat investing websites or Facebook groups such as SimplyFI. 

In-demand jobs and monthly salaries
  • Technology expert in robotics and automation: Dh20,000 to Dh40,000 
  • Energy engineer: Dh25,000 to Dh30,000 
  • Production engineer: Dh30,000 to Dh40,000 
  • Data-driven supply chain management professional: Dh30,000 to Dh50,000 
  • HR leader: Dh40,000 to Dh60,000 
  • Engineering leader: Dh30,000 to Dh55,000 
  • Project manager: Dh55,000 to Dh65,000 
  • Senior reservoir engineer: Dh40,000 to Dh55,000 
  • Senior drilling engineer: Dh38,000 to Dh46,000 
  • Senior process engineer: Dh28,000 to Dh38,000 
  • Senior maintenance engineer: Dh22,000 to Dh34,000 
  • Field engineer: Dh6,500 to Dh7,500
  • Field supervisor: Dh9,000 to Dh12,000
  • Field operator: Dh5,000 to Dh7,000
COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

U19 WORLD CUP, WEST INDIES

UAE group fixtures (all in St Kitts)
Saturday 15 January: v Canada
Thursday 20 January: v England
Saturday 22 January: v Bangladesh

UAE squad
Alishan Sharafu (captain), Shival Bawa, Jash Giyanani, Sailles Jaishankar, Nilansh Keswani, Aayan Khan, Punya Mehra, Ali Naseer, Ronak Panoly, Dhruv Parashar, Vinayak Raghavan, Soorya Sathish, Aryansh Sharma, Adithya Shetty, Kai Smith

Essentials
The flights: You can fly from the UAE to Iceland with one stop in Europe with a variety of airlines. Return flights with Emirates from Dubai to Stockholm, then Icelandair to Reykjavik, cost from Dh4,153 return. The whole trip takes 11 hours. British Airways flies from Abu Dhabi and Dubai to Reykjavik, via London, with return flights taking 12 hours and costing from Dh2,490 return, including taxes. 
The activities: A half-day Silfra snorkelling trip costs 14,990 Icelandic kronur (Dh544) with Dive.is. Inside the Volcano also takes half a day and costs 42,000 kronur (Dh1,524). The Jokulsarlon small-boat cruise lasts about an hour and costs 9,800 kronur (Dh356). Into the Glacier costs 19,500 kronur (Dh708). It lasts three to four hours.
The tours: It’s often better to book a tailor-made trip through a specialist operator. UK-based Discover the World offers seven nights, self-driving, across the island from £892 (Dh4,505) per person. This includes three nights’ accommodation at Hotel Husafell near Into the Glacier, two nights at Hotel Ranga and two nights at the Icelandair Hotel Klaustur. It includes car rental, plus an iPad with itinerary and tourist information pre-loaded onto it, while activities can be booked as optional extras. More information inspiredbyiceland.com

SPECS

Engine: 4-litre flat-six
Power: 525hp (GT3), 500hp (GT4)
Torque: 465Nm (GT3), 450Nm (GT4)
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic
Price: From Dh944,000 (GT3), Dh581,700 (GT4)
On sale: Now


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