Monthly Archives: December 2013

Current Exhibition: Medieval Treasures from Hildesheim

SL-5-2013-1-1s3Current Exhibition: Medieval Treasures from Hildesheim

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, September 17, 2013–January 5, 2014

Hildesheim Cathedral has one of the most complete surviving ensembles of church furnishings and treasures in Europe, with many masterpieces made between 1000 and 1250. As a result, it was designated a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 1985. A major renovation of the cathedral provides an opportunity for this extraordinary exhibition of medieval church treasures. Consisting of about fifty works, the exhibition focuses primarily on Bishop Bernward of Hildesheim (960–1022), one of the greatest patrons of the arts in the Middle Ages. In addition to the famous monumental bronze doors and the column in Hildesheim Cathedral that cannot travel, Bernward commissioned many smaller precious works of art, mostly for his monastic foundation St. Michael’s. A silver crucifix and candlesticks and numerous illuminated manuscripts (that he is known to have commissioned), and the Golden Madonna (that he is believed to have commissioned), are part of the exhibition.

The exhibition also examines the artistic production of Hildesheim in the high Middle Ages, including the monumental bronze baptismal font that is a masterpiece of thirteenth-century metalwork.

For additional information see http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2013/medieval-treasures-from-hildesheim

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Current Exhibition: Canterbury and St. Albans: Treasures from Church and Cloister

albans01bCurrent Exhibition: Canterbury and St. Albans: Treasures from Church and Cloister

Getty Museum of Art, (September 20, 2013–February 2, 2014)

This exhibition brings together two masterpieces of medieval English art: stained glass from Canterbury Cathedral and the St. Albans Psalter, a splendidly illuminated Book of Psalms. Uniting the intimate art of book illumination with monumental glass painting, this exhibition explores how specific texts, prayers, and environments shaped medieval viewers’ understanding of pictures in the era of artistic renewal following the Norman Conquest of England. Life-size paintings on glass depict the ancestors of Christ, and richly ornamented illuminations translate biblical texts into luminous pictures.

The panels of glass have been temporarily de-installed and pages from the St. Albans Psalter, unbound—allowing visitors to experience these works at a proximity enjoyed by few in their long and storied histories. The windows would have been visible to monks sitting in the communal space of the cathedral’s choir, and the psalter was meant to be held in one’s hands as an object of personal devotion.

The early 12th-century manuscript’s graceful, powerfully drawn figures and saturated colors mark the arrival of the Romanesque style of painting in England. The windows from Canterbury, made toward the end of the century, represent this style at its apex and are the finest examples of English Romanesque glass that survive.

For additional information see http://www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/canterbury/

Current Exhibition: Miracles and Martyrs: Saints in the Middle Ages

00371101Current Exhibition: Miracles and Martyrs: Saints in the Middle Ages

Getty Museum of Art,  September 3, 2013–March 2, 2014

 Throughout the Middle Ages, Christians were fascinated by stories about saints, who led extraordinary lives full of mystical events and miraculous occurrences. Saints were depicted in manuscripts experiencing revelatory visions and performing wondrous feats such as healing the sick or raising the dead. Even when their tormentors were performing exceptionally brutal acts—shooting them repeatedly with arrows, for example, or violently beheading them—martyr saints were pictured remaining steadfast in their faith. This exhibition, drawn from the Getty Museum’s permanent collection, presents manuscripts that allowed medieval viewers to witness these dramatic narratives and venerate the saints as models of piety.

For more information visit http://www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/saints/

Call for Applications: Summer Paleography Workshop

diplomaMIDDLE FRENCH PALEOGRAPHY WORKSHOP
COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK

JUNE 9-27, 2014

This paleography workshop will provide intensive training in the accurate reading, editing, and interpretation of a manuscript in Middle French, in this case a complex and intriguing late-Renaissance compilation of a practical and proto-scientific nature. Participants will work on a collaborative transcription and translation of the manuscript using new digital tools and methods.

The manuscript, Bibliothèque nationale de France, fr. 640, written around 1580 by an anonymous French-speaking craftsperson, covers some 170 fols. with detailed instructions, including first-hand observations and illustrations, for a number of processes that we would now classify as part of fine arts and technology, such as drawing-instruction, pigment-making, metal-coloring, counterfeit gem production, cannon-casting, tree-grafting, land-surveying, a practice of taxidermy to manufacture monstrous composite animals (kittens and bats), making paper mâché masks, and much more.  The margins are filled with comments on experiments, an indication that the book was most likely a record of practice. The manuscript thus offers exceptional insight into how natural materials and art objects were made, collected, appreciated, and circulated in the late Renaissance. It also provides a rare view into attitudes to nature out of which modern science eventually emerged.

The workshop, directed by Prof. Marc H. Smith (École nationale des chartes/École pratique des hautes études) and Prof. Pamela H. Smith (History, Columbia University) is part of a larger interdisciplinary research and pedagogical initiative that aims to support the transcription, translation, annotation, and experimental reconstruction of the technical processes described in the manuscript, with the final goal being the publication of an electronic critical edition of the manuscript.

The three-week course, held on the campus of Columbia University, will begin with general instruction and bibliographical information concerning the historical context of the manuscript, French Renaissance paleography, Middle French, and principles for transcription and translation, as well as instruction in digital methods, such as collaborative editing, annotation and versioning methods. Then, for five days a week, morning sessions will be devoted to reading, annotating, and translating the text collectively. In the afternoons, students will be able to work in groups on selected sections of the text to be discussed on the following day.

Up to 15 participants will be enrolled from the U.S. and abroad. First consideration is given to PhD students, but applications will also be accepted from professional staff of libraries and museums, and from qualified independent scholars. Advanced French-language skills are required. PhD applicants selected for admission will receive a stipend to help defray the cost of attending the workshop. The workshop is offered tuition free.

Applicants should submit a CV containing names and addresses of two references, a 3-page letter explaining their reason for application, and transcripts showing successful completion of coursework or other evidence of competence in the French language.  Experience and interest in the digital humanities will be an advantage.

Applications, along with supporting documents, should be emailed to Claire Sabel (ccs2137@columbia.edu) by February 21, 2014. Inquiries should be directed to the same address. Successful applicants will be notified by the beginning of April.

Current Exhibition: Heaven and Earth: Art of Byzantium from Greek Collections

heaven-earthWashington, National Gallery, West Building

Heaven and Earth: Art of Byzantium from Greek Collections

October 6 2013- March 2 2014

In 330 Emperor Constantine the Great moved the capital of the Roman Empire from Italy some thousand miles to the east, near the site of the ancient Greek city of Byzantium on the Bosphorus Strait linking the Aegean and Black Seas. Renamed Constantinople (now Istanbul), the city became the largest and wealthiest in the Christian world. It remained the dominant power, especially in the eastern Mediterranean, for more than 1,000 years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. In the first-ever exhibition of Byzantine art at the Gallery, some 170 works of art, many never before lent to the United States, will be on view—among them mosaics, icons, manuscripts, jewelry, and ceramics. The works include newly discovered and unpublished objects and reveal the rich and multifaceted culture of Byzantium. Divided into five thematic sections, the exhibition explores the coexistence of paganism and Christianity, spiritual life in Byzantium, secular works of art used in the home, the intellectual life of Byzantine scholars, and the cross-influences that occurred between Byzantine and Western artists before the fall of Byzantium.

Heaven and EarthArt of Byzantium from Greek Collections presents life in Byzantium through approximately 170 works of art dating from the inception of the empire to its close. Drawn from collections throughout Greece, they include sculpture, mosaics, icons, frescoes, manuscripts, metalwork, jewelry, glass, embroideries, coins, and ceramics. The works are arranged in five sections: From the Ancient to the Byzantine WorldSpiritual Life,Pleasures of LifeIntellectual Life, and The Last Phase: Crosscurrents.

Organization: The exhibition was organized by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports, Athens, with the collaboration of the Benaki Museum, Athens, and in association with the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.

Sponsors: The exhibition’s international tour is made possible by major funding from OPAP S.A.
Financial support is also provided by the A.G. Leventis Foundation.

Other Venues: J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, April 9–August 25, 2014

BBC Two: Pilgrimage

l43-vaticano-110818192541_bigBBC2: Pilgrimage with Simon Reeve

For centuries pilgrimage was one of the greatest adventures on earth, involving epic journeys across the country and around the world. This series sees Simon Reeve retrace the exciting adventures of our ancestors. He learns about the forgotten aspects of pilgrimage, including the vice, thrills and dangers that all awaited travellers. He explores the faith, the hopes, desires, and even the food that helped to keep medieval travellers on the road.

1st Episode Simon Reeve embarks on pilgrimages across Britain, from Holy Island to Canterbury.

2nd Episode Simon Reeve travels from northern France to Spain, then crosses western Europe to Rome.

3rd Episode Simon Reeve travels from Istanbul across the Holy Land to Jerusalem.

For more information see http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01kqjg3

BBC Four: Byzantium: A Tale of Three Cities

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BBC 4: Byzantium: A Tale of Three Cities

Series in which historian Simon Sebag Montefiore traces the sacred history of Istanbul. Known as the ‘city of the world’s desire’, it’s a place that has been the focus of passion for believers of three different faiths – Paganism, Christianity and Islam – and for nearly 3,000 years its streets have been the battleground for some of the fiercest political and religious conflicts in history.

In three episodes Montefiore charts the rise of Istanbul from pagan trading post to capital of three empires and two religions, becoming not only holy but the most coveted city in the world.

For more information see http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03l2shc