Entries Tagged as 'exhibition'

The ‘Belles Heures’ of Jean de Berry at the Met

EXHIBITION: The Art of Illumination. The Limbourg Brothers and the Belles Heures of Jean de France, Duc de Berry, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Robert Lehman Wing) from March 2 to June 13, 2010. The exhibition was previously held at The J. Paul Getty Museum from November 18, 2008 to February 8, 2009.

The Belles Heures of the Duke of Berry was organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in association with The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.  The Getty’s presentation  was curated by THOMAS KREN, senior curator of manuscripts at the Getty Museum, and the exhibition at the Metropolitan was organized by TIMOTHY B. HUSBAND, curator in the Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters, who also wrote the scholarly publication accompanying the exhibitions (see the related post, The Art of Illumination). Both events unveil the unbound folios of this extraordinary illuminated manuscript.

One of the most lavishly illustrated codices of the Middle Ages, the Belles Heures (1405–1408/9) is the only manuscript executed in its entirety by the famed Limbourg brothers. Commissioned by its magisterial patron, Jean de France, duc de Berry, this richly illuminated Book of Hours, intended for private devotion and now housed in The Cloisters at the Metropolitan Museum, counted among the duke’s large collection of prized possessions. The luminous scenes depicting the legends of the saints, the Hours of the Virgin, and the like, many with elaborately designed borders, exemplify the transcendent splendor of the Limbourg brothers’ talents.

Michelangelo’s Dream (Exhibition)

EXHIBITION: Michelangelo’s Dream, The Courtauld Institute of Art (Somerset House, Strand, London), 18 February – 16 May 2010.

Michelangelo’s masterpiece ‘The Dream’ (Il Sogno) has been described as one of the finest of all Renaissance drawings and it is amongst The Courtauld Gallery’s greatest treasures.  Executed in c. 1533 when Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564) was at the height of his career, it exemplifies his unrivalled skill as a draughtsman and his extraordinary powers of invention.

The exhibition Michelangelo’s Dream examines this celebrated work in the context of an exceptional group of closely related drawings by Michelangelo, as well as original letters and poems by the artist and works by his contemporaries. The ‘Dream’ is one of Michelangelo’s “presentation drawings”, a magnificent and famous group of highly refined compositions which the artist gave to his closest friends. These beautiful and complex works transformed drawing into an independent art form and are amongst Michelangelo’s very finest creations in any medium.

The exhibition starts with the earliest surviving letter from Michelangelo to Tommaso de’ Cavalieri, dated 1 January 1533, in which the artist expresses his delight that Cavalieri had agreed to accept the gift of some drawings. Cavalieri is thought to have been no older than 17 at the time and, according to Vasari, Michelangelo’s gifts were primarily intended to teach him how to draw.

As a matter of fact, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II ‘The Dream’ was probably made for the young Roman nobleman, Tommaso, who was celebrated for his outstanding beauty, gracious manners and intellect. Michelangelo had first met him in Rome in the winter of 1532 and had instantly fallen in love. It is likely to have been part of the superb group of drawings which Michelangelo gave to Cavalieri during the first years of their close friendship. This group forms the heart of the exhibition and includes ‘The Punishment of Tityus’, ‘The Fall of Phaeton’, ‘A Bacchanal of Children’ and ‘The Rape of Ganymede.’

In his Life of Michelangelo (1568) the biographer and artist Giorgio Vasari praised these exceptional works as «drawings the like of which have never been seen» – and they are still regarded as amongst the greatest single series of drawings ever made. The mythological stories may also have been intended to offer moral guidance. Michelangelo’s drawings for Cavalieri have not been seen together for over twenty years and this is the first time that ‘The Dream’ will be shown as part of this group.  Exceptionally also, ‘The Fall of Phaeton’ will be reunited with two earlier versions of this composition. Both carry inscriptions in Michelangelo’s hand, one requesting Cavalieri’s approval of the preliminary design. The drawings certainly also served as expressions of Michelangelo’s love for Cavalieri.

Reviwed by CHARLES ROBERTSON, The Burlington Magazine, vol. CLII, number 1286, May 2010, pp. 339-340.

Click here for further information on the exhibiition.

The Drawings of Bronzino (Exhibition)

EXHIBITION – The Drawings of Bronzino, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1000 Fifth Avenue. New York, New York 10028, Galleries for Drawings, Prints, and Photographs, 2nd floor), January 20, 2010–April 18, 20.

This exhibition is the first ever dedicated to Agnolo Bronzino (1503–1572), and will present nearly all the known drawings by, or attributed to, this leading Italian Mannerist artist, who was active primarily in Florence. A painter, draftsman, academician, and enormously witty poet, Bronzino became famous as the court artist to the Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici and his beautiful wife, the Duchess Eleonora di Toledo. This monographic exhibition will contain approximately 60 drawings from European and North-American collections, many of which have never before been on public view. The exhibition was organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in collaboration with the Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi and the Polo Museale Fiorentino, Florence.

From 1540 onward, Bronzino was court painter to Cosimo I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and herein you will see examples of his portraits of Cosimo, his wife, Duchess Eleonora di Toledo, and their children. They demonstrate Bronzino’s sensitivity for elegant composition as well as his acute powers to create mood and capture the psychology of his aristocratic sitters. One of the artist’s most ambitious projects for the princely couple is a fresco cycle for the private Chapel of Eleonora di Toledo, and this exhibition includes drawings he executed for that Chapel in the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence. Also included are sheets that contributed to his designs for a series of tapestries on the Old Testament Story of Joseph, intended for one of the audience halls of the Palazzo Vecchio. Bronzino was among the founders of the Accademia del Disegno in Florence, the first art academy in Europe, and he is said to have had many pupils. The younger generations of Florentine artists particularly admired him for his technical virtuosity as a painter, and even Giorgio Vasari grudgingly praised him for his powers as a disegnatore (designer and draftsman) in his well-known Lives of the Artists.

Accompanied by a catalogue (336 pages, 274 illustrations,155 in full color, $60,00), authored by a team of international scholars, to be published by the Metropolitan Museum: Carmen C. Bambach, Janet Cox-Rearick, and George R. Goldner; with contributions by Philippe Costamagna, Marzia Faietti, and Elizabeth Pilliod. The five essays in this catalogue cover the subject of Bronzino’s draftsmanship through consideration of his life, the critical responses to his drawings from his lifetime to the twentieth century, his theory and practice in drawing, and his portraits. The authors contributed research that adds greatly to our understanding of Bronzino’s place in the history of Florentine drawing. In the sixty-two entries that follow, each individual sheet is analyzed in substantial detail. Every drawing is illustrated in color and is accompanied by comparative photographs. Sixty-two related paintings and tapestries follow the entry section, reproduced as full-page color illustrations that further enhance knowledge of Bronzino’s drawing even as they display his celebrated accomplishments in those mediums. The catalogue is made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Reviwed by DAVID FRANKLIN, The Burlington Magazine, vol. CLII, number 1286, May 2010, pp. 350-351.

The ‘Farnese Hours’ on View at The Morgan

EXHIBITION – Rome After Raphael The Morgan Library & Museum (225 Madison Avenue at 36th Street, New York, NY 10016; Tel: (212)685-0008; Fax: (212)481-3484), January 22 through May 9, 2010.

Featuring more than eighty works drawn almost exclusively from the Morgan’s exceptional collection of Italian drawings, Rome After Raphael illuminates artistic production in Rome from the Renaissance to the beginning of the Baroque-from approximately 1500 to 1600. The exhibition, the first in New York to focus solely on Roman Renaissance and Mannerist drawings, takes Raphael’s art as its starting point and ends with the dawn of a new era, as seen in the innovations of Annibale Carracci.

The show includes striking examples by great masters of the period, including Raphael, Michelangelo, and Parmigianino, among others. Also on exhibit are Giulio Clovio’s sumptuous Farnese hours, the Codex Mellon – an architectural treatise on important Roman sites and projects, including Raphael’s design for St. Peter’s – and a magnificent gilt binding. Having recently undergone a thorough investigation of its technique and media, the Morgan’s Raphael school painting, The Holy Family, will be on view as well.

Numerous drawings in the exhibition are related to Roman projects and commissions, including elaborate schemes for fresco decorations of city palaces and rural villas, funerary chapels and altarpieces, and tapestry designs and views of newly discovered antiquities. The exhibition opens a window on the past to afford us a glimpse of the artistic sensibility and lavish patronage of the period. Rome After Raphael is made possible by Christopher Scholz and Inés Elskop, in honor of Helen and Janos Scholz.

See online exhibition

The Hours of Catherine of Cleves

EXHIBITION: Demons and Devotion: The Hours of Catherine of Cleves – The Morgan Library & Museum (225 Madison Avenue at 36th Street, New York, NY 10016; Tel: (212)685-0008; Fax: (212)481-3484), January 22 through May 2, 2010.

The Hours of Catherine of Cleves is the most important and lavish of all Dutch manuscripts as well as one of the most beautiful among the Morgan’s collection. Commissioned by Catherine of Cleves around 1440 and illustrated by an artist known as the Master of Catherine of Cleves, the work is an illustrated prayer book containing devotions that Catherine would recite throughout the day. The manuscript’s two volumes have been disbound for the exhibition, which features nearly a hundred miniatures (see digital facsimile).

The manuscript is as rich in pictures as it is in prayers: it contains 157 (originally 168) miniatures that reveal colorful landscapes and detailed domestic interiors. In The Holy Family at Work, for example, Joseph planes a board and the Virgin Mary weaves while the infant Jesus takes his first steps in a walker. Throughout the miniatures are meticulously depicted buildings, textiles, furniture, jewelry, and even fish—painted over silver foil. Many miniatures comprise long elaborate cycles of iconographic and theological complexity. One such cycle includes eight miniatures detailing the legend of the True Cross.

Demons and Devotion includes manuscripts illuminated by both predecessors and contemporaries of the Master of Catherine of Cleves, who is considered the finest as well as the most original illuminator of the northern Netherlands. This exhibition is underwritten by a major grant from the B. H. Breslauer Foundation. Additional support is generously provided by Mrs. Alexandre P. Rosenberg.

See online exhibition.

Flemish Illumination in New York

EXHIBITION: Flimish Illumination in the Era of Catherine of Cleves The Morgan Library & Museum (225 Madison Avenue at 36th Street, New York, NY 10016; Tel: (212)685-0008; Fax: (212)481-3484), January 22 through May 2, 2010.

This exhibition of eighteen manuscripts illuminated in the area of Flanders in the southern Netherlands (today part of Belgium) celebrates the variety of styles from the last great flowering of Flemish illumination during the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. All Books of Hours, the manuscripts provide intriguing iconographic and stylistic points of comparison with miniatures from the Hours of Catherine of Cleves. The Morgan’s rich holdings of Flemish illumination comprise examples by the major illuminators of this prolific period encompassing the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance. Included will be works by Lieven van Lathem and Willem Vrelant, two artists who collaborated with and were influenced by the Master of Catherine of Cleves. This exhibition is underwritten by a major grant from the B. H. Breslauer Foundation.

Learn more about the exhibition.

Drawings in the Middle Ages

JONATHAN J. G. ALEXANDER, ‘Drawings in the Middle Ages’, The Burlington Magazine, vol. CLI, n. 1278, September 2009, pp. 641-643.

Review of the exhibition and catalogue Pen and Parchment: Drawing in the Middle Ages, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

The exhibition was both innovatory and a triumph of curatorship. Though this is not quite the first time a show has concentrated on drawings in medieval manuscripts, it is sufficiently unusual that most visitors will never have seen these objets together or anything similar before. That the exhibition here under review took place in a museum and not in a library also shifted the emphasis from text to image, literary to aesthetic importance.

Melanie Holcomb and her collaborators deserve praise, therefore, not only for the intelligence evident in the selection of the manuscripts, but also for convincing libraries and other owners of the value of the project, and for persuading them to lend to it. This was not one of the Metropolitan’s blockbusters, but that too was part of the pleasure. Smaller show can be especially rewarding, and in this context the small size of the objects themselves was an essential aspect of their aesthetic value.

Pen and Parchment: Drawings at the Met

EXHIBITION: Pen and Parchment: Drawing in the Middle Ages, New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Galleries for Drawings, Prints, and Photographs, 2nd floor), 2 June 2009 – 23 August 2009.

The catalogue is by Melanie Holcomb, with contributions by Lisa Bessette, Barbara Drake Boehm, Evelyn M. Cohen, Kathryn Gerry, Ludovico V. Geymonat, Aden Kumler, Lawrence Nees, William Noel, Wendy A. Stein, Faith Wallis, Karl Whittington, Elizabeth Williams, and Nancy Wu (Haven and London 2009 (Yale University Press), xxii + 188 pages, including 138 color + 19 black and white illustrations, $ 50).

With strokes of genius, artists in the Middle Ages explored the medium of drawing, creating a rich array of works ranging from spontaneous sketches to powerful evocations of spirituality to intriguing images of science and the natural world. This exhibition, the first to examine in depth the achievements of the medieval draftsman, includes many works that have never before been lent outside their home countries. Through some fifty examples created in settings as diverse as ninth-century monastic scriptoria to the fourteenth-century French court, the presentation considers the aesthetics, uses, and techniques of medieval drawings, mastered by artists working centuries before the dawn of the Renaissance. Early maps, artists’ sketchbooks, and masterfully decorated manuscripts count among the important loans from American and European museums, and the great national, university, and monastic libraries of Europe.

Contents
Director’s Foreword (p. VII)
Acknowledgments (pp. VIII-X)
Lernders to the Exhibition (p. XI)
Contributors to the Catalogue (p. XII)
Note to the Reader (p. XII).
MELANIE HOLCOMB, Strokes of Genius: The Draftsman’s Art in the Middle Ages (pp. 3-34)
Catalogue (pp. 35-163)
Bibliography (pp. 164-176)
General Index (pp. 177-186)
Index of Manuscripts Arranged by Location (pp. 186-188)
Photograph Credits (p. 188).

The exhibition and the catalogue have been reviewed by JONATHAN J. G. ALEXANDER, The Burlington Magazine, vol. CLI, n. 1278, September 2009, pp. 641-643 (click here); and by ERIC J. JOHNSON, The Sixteenth Century Journal. The Journal of Early Modern Studies, XLII, 2011, 3, pp. 951-953.

Visit the Pen and Parchment blog to learn more about exhibition themes and selected works of art.

Rogier van der Weyden (1400-1464)

The M-Leuven new municipal museum (Belgium) is holding the exhibition Rogier van der Weyden (1400-1464): Master of Passions, from September 20 to December 6, 2009.

This exhibition illustrates the originality and importance of Rogier van der Weyden, the most influential painter of the 15th century and the first to depict real people with real emotions. In bringing more than 100 masterpieces to Leuven, on loan from major North-American and European collections, it promises to be one of the cultural high points of 2009. Some works return to Flanders for the first time in six centuries.

The beginning of the 15th century saw the emergence of a talented generation of painters in the Low Countries. With their exceptional eye for detail, they were an innovative force in Western painting. These artists went down in history as the Flemish Primitives. Rogier van der Weyden and Jan van Eyck tower above the others. Van Eyck is an outstanding observer; Van der Weyden is the inimitable master of passion and subdued emotion. The pain and sorrow of Mary and John at the foot of the cross, Mary Magdalene’s deep concentration as she reads and the self-confident expression on the face of Charles the Bold are all stil powerful enough images to move us today. Rogier van der Weyden grew up in Tournai. In 1435 he was appointed city painter of Brussels. In that prestigious office, he was close to the ducal court and the bourgeoisie. His clients included the Burgundian rulers and the Leuven Crossbow Guild. Van der Weyden is generally regarded as the most influential painter in the Southern Netherlands in the fifteenth century. Indeed, his artistic idiom was copied all over Europe. Moreover, his work has lost none of its élan. The great German artist Albrecht Dürer praised Rogier in his diary and King Philip II went to great lengths to have The Descent from the Cross brought to Spain. And he succeeded. Made for Leuven’s Crossbow Guild, that sublime work now hangs in the Prado in Madrid. Though for technical reasons the masterpiece cannot be transported, it will be very much in evidence in the Rogier van der Weyden 1400-1464: Master of Passions exhibition. Video artist WALTER VERDIN will bring The Descent from the Cross to life in the overture to the exhibition: his installation entitled The Sliding Time.

The exhibition has been reviewed by PAULA NUTTALL, The Burlington Magazine, vol. CLI, n. 1281, December 2009, pp. 860-863.

For further information visit the site of the exhibition.

Henry VIII: Man and Monarch

In celebration of the 500th anniversary of Henry VIII’s accession to the throne, the exhibition Henry VIII: Man and Monarch was held at The British Library from Thursday 23 April to Sunday 6 September 2009 (PACCAR Gallery). Exhibition guest curated by David Starkey; British Library curator: Andrea Clarke. Catalogue edited by Susan Doran, London 2009 (The British Library), 288 pages, 311 illustrations, £ 25.00.

The historian and broadcaster David Starkey guest-curated this unique exhibition  that looks beyond the myths and stereotypes surrounding Henry VIII, to address the inner intellectual journey of Henry’s monarchy and re-examine our perceptions of the great Tudor monarch. Through fresh interpretation of rich source material the exhibition examined the extraordinary transformations – personal and political, intellectual and religious, literary, aesthetic, linguistic – of Henry’s reign. Books, manuscripts and letters written or annotated by Henry offered an unprecedented insight into the mind of the king, revealing the driving forces behind his actions, and telling the story of his reign from his own perspective.

Catalogue contents: Introduction (pp. 8-11); David Starkey, The Young Henry,  1491-1509 (pp. 13-16; entries, pp. 17-51); Steven Gunn, Venus and Mars, 1509-13 (pp.  53-55; entries, pp. 56-77); Glenn Richardson, The Triumph of Peace? 1514-27 (pp. 79-81; entries, pp. 82-105); Eric Ives, The Turning Point, 1527-29 (pp. 107-109; entries, pp. 110-125); Richard Rex, The Royal Supremacy, 1529-35 (pp. 127-129; entries, pp. 130-161); Peter Marshall, The Crisis of 1536 (pp. 163-165; entries, pp. 166-183); Diarmaid MacCulloch, The Making of a New Church, 1536-40 (pp. 185-187; entries, pp. 188-207); Susan Doran, The Last Years, 1539-47 (pp. 209-211; entries, pp. 212-255); Ralph Houlbrooke, Death, Will and Succession, 1546-47 (pp. 257-259; entries, pp. 260-271); James Carley, Henry VIII as Bibliophile: His Book Collections, their Storage and their Use (pp. 273-277); Bibliography (pp. 278-282); Index (pp. 283-287).

List of the illuminated manuscripts discussed in the catalogue: n. 2 – Beaufort Book of Hours (British Library, Royal MS 2 A xviii) by David Starkey; n. 15 – Writhe’s Garter Book (Collection of His Grace the Duke of Buccleuch) by David Starkey; n. 17 – Queen Elisabeth of York’s Book of Hours (British Library, Additional MS 50001) by David Starkey; n. 20 – Quentin Poulet, L’Imaginacion de Vraye Noblesse (British Library, Royal MS 19 V viii) by David Starkey; n. 21 – Lancelot du Lac (British Library, Royal MS 20 D iv) by James Carley; n. 23 –  Henry V: the Model Tudor King? (British Library, Cotton MS Julius E iv) by David Starkey; n. 30 – Liber de optimo fato nobilissimi domini Henrici Eboraci … (British Library, Royal MS 12 B vi) by David Starkey; n. 35 – Henry’s Youthful Religion (Ushaw College, Durham, MS 29) by David Starkey; n. 38 – Henry and Katherine’s Marriage Contract (Archivio General de Simancas, Patronato Real, Caja 53, Doc. 1) by Andrea Clarke; n. 41 – Wriothesley’s Heraldic Collections, vol. 1: Book of Funerals (British Library, Additional MS 45131) by Adrian Ailes and David Starkey; n. 49 – Thomas More’s Coronation Suite (British Library, Cotton MS Titus D iv) by David Carlson; n. 53 – William Twiti, The Art of Hunting (British Library, Cotton MS Vespasian B xii) by Julian Harrison and Andrea Clarke; n. 55 – Motet, Celeste beneficium (British Library, Royal MS 8 G vii) by Nicolas Bell; n. 56 – Jousting tournament challange (British Library, Harley Ch. 83 H. 1) by Steven Gunn; n. 59 – Robert de Balsac, Manual Warfare for the Instruction of a Prince (British Library, Cotton MS Vespasian A xvii) by Julian Harrison; n. 60 – John Lydgate’s Siege of Troy (British Library, Royal MS 18 D vi) by James Carley; n. 63 – The Parliamentary Procession Roll of 1512 (British Library, Additional MS 22306) by Steven Gunn; n. 69 – Bernard André on the Victoires of 1513 (Collection of the Most Hon. the Marquess of Salisbury, Hatfield House, Hertfordshire, Cecil Papers MS 277/1) by David Carlson; n. 71 – Pierre Gringore, De la reception et entrée … Marie d’Angleterre (British Library, Cotton MS Vespasian B ii) by Glenn Richardson; n. 76 – Le commentaires de la guerre gallique, vol. 2, 1519 (British Library, Harley MS 6205) by Susan Doran; n. 79 – Sforza Hours (British Library, Additional MS 34294) by Susan Doran; n. 80 – Miniature Portrait of Henry VIII (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, PD.19-1949) by Scot McKendrick; n. 82 – Arms of the Sovereign and Peers Spiritual and Temporal in the Parliament Roll (British Library, Additional MS 40078) by Andrea Clarke; n. 86 – Design for Tents for the Fields of Cloth of Gold (British Library, Cotton MS Augustus I.ii.76 and III) by Glenn Richardson; n. 93 – The Treaty of Amiens, 18 August 1527 (The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, E30/1109) by Glenn Richardson; n. 95 – Henry VIII, Assertio septem sacramentorum (Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Memb. III.4) by Richard Rex; n. 98 – ‘Salve radix’: canon in honour of Henry VIII (British Library, Royal MS 11 E xi) by Nicolas Bell; n. 104 – Actes of the Apostles and Book of Revelation (Collection of the Most Hon. the Marquess of Salisbury, Hatfield House, Hertfordshire, Cecil Papers MS 324) by Scot McKendrick); n. 108 – Book of Hours (British Library, Kings MS 9) by Eric Ives; n. 130 – Geoffrey of Monmouth, Historia regum Britanniae (British Library, Royal MS 13 D v) by James Carley; n. 138 – Anne’s Elevation to the Peerage (British Library, Harley MS 303) by Eric Ives; n. 144 – The Pistellis and Gospelles for the LII Sondayes in the Yere, 1532-3 (British Library, Harley MS 6561) by Eric Ives; n. 146 – Le Pastor evangélique (British Library, Royal MS 16 E xiii) by Eric Ives; n. 148 – The Ecclesiastes (Collection of His Grace the Duke of Northumberland, Percy MS 465) by Eric Ives; n. 149 – Anne’s Coronation, Sunday, 1 June 1533 (British Library, Harley MS 41) by Eric Ives; n. 194 – King Henry VIII’s Psalter (British Library, Royal MS 2 A xvi) by James Carley; n. 195 – Jean Mallard, Le Chemin de Paradis (Bodlean Library, Oxford MS 883) by James Carley; n. 201 – The Great Bible (British Library, C 18 d 10) by Tatiana String; n. 203 – Outlawing the Cult of St Thomas Becket (British Library, Stowe MS 22) by Eamon Duffy; n. 240 – Jean Rotz, The Boke of Idrography (British Library, Royal MS 20 E ix) by Peter Barber; n. 241 – Jean Mallard, Le Premier Livre de la cosmographie en rhetorique francoyse (British Library, Royal MS 20 B xii) by James Carley; n. 242 – The ‘Cottonian map of Britain’ (British Library, Cotton MS Augustus I i 9) by Peter Barber; and n. 243 – Nicolaus Kratzer, Canones Horoptri (Bodleian Library, Oxford, MS Bodley 504) by Peter Barber.

Click here to watch the video introduction by David Starkey. You can also read about on the BBC website.

Display: Makers and Markets

The exhibition Display: Makers and Markets was held at the Victoria & Albert Museum, Room 117 (South Kensington,  Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL, ph.  +44 (0)20 7942 2000) from March 26, 2007 to July 30, 2009.

This temporary display included work by some of the greatest sculptors of the period, such as Michelangelo, Benvenuto Cellini and Giambologna, artists who were celebrated figures in their own lifetimes. As well as unique objects made for wealthy patrons, there were also examples of decorative items made in larger quantities for more diverse markets. The manufacture of German stoneware vessels, Spanish lustreware ceramics, Limoges enamels and Venetian metalwork were all highlighted in focused displays.

Learn more about this exhibition or the new Medieval & Renaissance Galleries.

Heaven on Earth

EXHIBITION: Heaven on Earth: Manuscript Illuminations from the National Gallery of Art, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (East Building, Ground Floor), 1 March – 2 August 2009.

Rare medieval manuscript illuminations, last exhibited in 1975, were showcased in a stunning installation: Heaven on Earth: Manuscript Illuminations from the National Gallery of Art. The exhibition offered the first in-depth look at these rare medieval manuscript illuminations from 52 single leaves and 4 bound volumes, among them a number of important recent acquisitions, which date from the 12th to the 16th century and were made in France, Germany, Austria, Bohemia, the Netherlands, Spain, and Italy.

The majority of the works depicted sacred subjects, as the books most commonly illuminated throughout the Middle Ages were bibles and liturgical texts used in church services and in the daily cycle of prayers offered by communities of monks and nuns. In the late Middle Ages the most popular illuminated books were private devotional texts, called “books of hours,” prepared for well-to-do patrons. Secular texts were also illustrated and were represented by manuscripts treating canon law, ancient history, and civic statutes.

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