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/

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