“Remembering Antiquity: The Ancient World Through Medieval Eyes” on Exhibit at Paul Getty Museum, LA

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Initial S: A Griffin and Rider, about 1240 – 1250. Creator unknown (German). Tempera colors, gold leaf, and silver leaf on parchment. Leaf: 22.7 x 15.7 cm (8 15/16 x 6 3/16 in.). The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Ms. Ludwig VIII 2, fol 76.

LOS ANGELES – The arts and culture of the Middle Ages were the inheritors of a rich classical tradition. For more than a millennium following the fall of Rome, antiquity was evoked and preserved through visual arts, ceremony, and manuscript culture. Remembering Antiquity: The Ancient World Through Medieval Eyes, on view January 24 through May 28 at the J. Paul Getty Museum, explores the constant and varied engagement of medieval people with the classical past.

“After the fall of the Roman Empire and the Christianization of Europe, many of the great works of Greek and Latin literature were copied by scribes in monasteries of centers of learning, preserving them for posterity and forming the foundation of medieval scholarship,” says Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “While the rediscovery of Greco-Roman art and literature has come to be associated with the Renaissance in Italy from about 1400 through the 1500s, antiquity was in fact studied and commemorated throughout the preceding Middle Ages. In many ways the classical world never really died, but just receded under layers of subsequent culture. For authors and artists alike, the process of historical remembering in the centuries before the Renaissance often involved embellishment or invention, as stories of ancient rulers and mythological heroes were frequently employed and adapted for inclusion in Christian texts.”

Bringing together objects from the Getty Museum’s antiquities collection with works from the manuscripts collection, the exhibition is divided into three sections. Section one explores the fluidity of artistic forms across antiquity and the Middle Ages. The second focuses on the classical knowledge base that was preserved by and transmitted through the work of medieval scribes and artisans. The last section explores medieval understanding of, and approaches to, the past.

The Language of Forms
“Whether through quotation, emulation, transformation, or invention, the medieval world drew upon the classical, exploiting its expressive visual language,” explains Kristen Collins, co-curator of the exhibition. The styles and motifs of classical art provided a rich vocabulary for medieval artists and patrons. The formal characteristics of ancient Latin script were often employed to imbue religious texts with the authority of imperial Rome. Winged victories, as shown in Earrings with Nike (225-175 BC), were supernatural beings in ancient art. The personification of victory—known as Nike to the Greeks, Victoria to the Romans—was among the most frequently depicted, appearing in a variety of media and contexts. With the transition of the pagan world to the Christian, the goddess was adapted and transformed, into both an angel and a pagan idol. At times both depictions appear together in the same object.

Transmission of Knowledge
The study of medicine, drawn largely from classical sources, flourished in medieval universities. Latin translations of Greek and Arabic commentaries on other ancient medical texts shaped the discipline throughout the Middle Ages. Medieval physicians saw the body as a microcosm of the physical universe. Their practice sought to counteract imbalances in the four “humors” caused by natural phenomena such as the position of celestial bodies, the earth’s climate, and the ocean’s tides.

History and Invention
“During the Middle Ages, history was seen as the unfolding of God’s will over time, and great effort was made to align ancient historical accounts with the Bible,” says Kenneth Lapatin, co-curator of the exhibition. “Medieval authors mined classical texts, which were seen not only as essential documents of the past but also as ideal tools for learning the grammar and rhetoric of Latin.”

In their compendia of classical lore, medieval illuminators often updated the appearances and settings of ancient figures, representing them in contemporary costumes and architectural contexts. Such artistic devices blurred the lines between antiquity and the medieval present, demonstrating how people in the Middle Ages viewed their culture as an outgrowth of the Greco-Roman past. Within a single illuminated letter “P” (about 1300), Alexander the Great holds baited sticks as he is lifted heavenward by two griffins – ferocious composite creatures, part eagle and part lion. While the author of the accompanying text omitted this fantastical episode from the Alexander legend, the artist drew upon an established visual tradition.

Remembering Antiquity: The Ancient World Through Medieval Eyes will be on view January 24 –May 21, 2017, at the J. Paul Getty Museum. The exhibition is curated by Kristen Collins, curator of Manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Kenneth Lapatin, curator of Antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum, and former curatorial assistant in Manuscripts, Rheagan Martin. Related programming will include gallery talks and more. Additional information can be found at getty.edu/360.

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The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that includes the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades.

The J. Paul Getty Museum collects Greek and Roman antiquities, European paintings, drawings, manuscripts, sculpture and decorative arts to 1900, as well as photographs from around the world to the present day. The Museum’s mission is to display and interpret its collections, and present important loan exhibitions and publications for the enjoyment and education of visitors locally and internationally. This is supported by an active program of research, conservation, and public programs that seek to deepen our knowledge of and connection to works of art.

Visiting the Getty Center
The Getty Center is open Tuesday through Friday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. It is closed Mondays, and January 1, Thanksgiving Day and December 25. Admission to the Getty Center is always free. Parking is $15 per car, but reduced to $10 after 3 p.m. No reservation is required for parking or general admission. Reservations are required for event seating and groups of 15 or more. Please call (310) 440-7300 (English or Spanish) for reservations and information. The TTY line for callers who are deaf or hearing impaired is (310) 440-7305. The Getty Center is at 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, California.

Same-day parking at both Museum locations (Getty Center and Getty Villa) is available for one fee through the Getty’s Pay Once, Park Twice program. Visit the Museum Information Desk at the Center or the Villa to obtain a coupon good for same-day complimentary parking at the other site.

Additional information is available at www.getty.edu.

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New Earthquake Strikes Umbria, Italy: Church of San Benedetto da Norcia Collapses [GALLERY]

© Perceval Archeostoria – Minima Medievalia. All rights reserved.

A  powerful 6.5-magnitude earthquake striked central Italy on Sunday morning,  the strongest tremor to hit the country since 1980. Numerous buildings have collapsed, among them the ancient basilica of San Benedetto in Norcia, Umbria.

Only a few days ago another devastating tremor completely destroyed the medieval church of San Salvatore di Campi di Norcia [PHOTOS AND ARTICLE HERE].

The current monastery was physically located above the 5th century ruins of the house of St. Benedict and his twin sister St. Scholastica, and has been the location of monastic communities since the tenth century AD.

The façade, the side portal and the lower bell tower dated from the late 14th century, and is the only part of the church that survived collapse. In 1570 a portico (Portico delle Misure) was added to the right side, by will of the commune and the ecclesiastical authorities, to act as covered cereals market, this also collapsed. On the side, near the transept, was a spur with a niche housing a Madonna with Child from a local, late-Gothic painter.

The basilica had a Latin cross plan, with a single nave. The apse and the internal dome at the transept dated from the 18th century reconstruction only the 14th-century triumphal arch, restored in the 1950s, remained from the original Gothic nave.

Below are some dramatic images of the church as it was before the quake and now, after collapse. (further updates coming up)

Foto: Norcia.net , Twitter et alii.

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Prado Museum announces first Exhibition on Master Mateo and his Work for the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela

The Museo del Prado in Madrid, Spain is collaborating with the Real Academia Gallega de Bellas Artes and the Fundación Catedral de Santiago to present an exhibition on Master Mateo and his work for the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. The exposition  “Master Mateo” will be running in Prado starting on November 29 to March 26, 2017.

For the first time, a selection of sculptures, normally housed in the Cathedral in Santiago outside the Porch of Glory  and in various other institutions and collections, brings together works by this artist that were part of now lost groups or from parts of the cathedral that no longer exist, such as its medieval façade and the stone choir that occupied the nave.

Master Mateo (c. 1150 – c. 1200 or c. 1217) was a sculptor and architect who worked in medieval Christian kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula during the second half of the twelfth century. He is best known now for the Pórtico de la Gloria of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. He was also responsible for the stone choir of the cathedral in 1200, later torn down in 1603.

The earliest information about the artist is from an 1168 document in the archives of the cathedral of Santiago, which says that the Master was already working on the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, for which he received a large sum of money from King Ferdinand II of León. Very little information remains about his early training, but everything seems to imply that he already had a long career behind him all along the Way of Santiago, especially in the French sections.

The natural sized sculptures highlights of the upcoming exposition are divided between public and private institutions: two of which can be found at the Pontevedra Provincial Museum, a further two at the Cathedral Foundation and another three are in the hands of private collectors. These pieces include David and Salomon, which can be seen on the Obradoiro façade; Abraham and Isaac, from a private collection; and Enoch and Elijah housed in the Pontevedra Museum, dating from 1188 and 1211.

Info: Museo del Prado website

Fac-simile editions & manuscript digitization project launched in Guarneriana, Italy

guarnerianaOne of the oldest and most beautiful surviving copies of Dante’s “Inferno” is preserved in Italy in San Daniele del Friuli, near Udine. It is part of the astonishing collection of over 12,000 manuscripts  owned by the Biblioteca Guarneriana, one of Europe’s most ancient public libraries, founded in 1466 by scholar ad humanist  Guarnerio d’Artegna.

The manuscript – catalogued  as “ms. Fontaniano 200” – was copied in the XIVth century. It is fully illustrated  with high quality miniatures, and containes two commentaries of Dante Alighieri’s masterpiece: one, written in Latin,  by Graziolo de’ Bambaglioli, the other composed in Italian “volgare” between 1324 and 1334 by an anonymous but very intriguing author.

Guarneriana’s Codex 200 has been studied by several scholars and is now available in a very accurate fac-simile edition by Italian publisher Roberto Vattori which will be presented,  together with two important fac-simile editions of Longobard manuscripts  by  Capsa Ars Scriptoria (Codice Cividalese XXVIII, Paolus Diaconus’s “Historia Langobardorum”, and Codex Cavensis 4, “Leges Langobardorum), during the  “MEDIOEVALIA: Medioevo e Medioevi in Guarneriana”  Conference on October 22, 2016.

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Guarneriana has also launched the brand new manuscript digitization project “TECA DIGITALE”, which gives full online access to 13 of the most important codices  which are part of the collection: among them, Ms. Fontaniniano 200, Peter Lombard’s Liber Sententiarum (ms 42 ), the “Bizantine Bible” (ms 3), Augustin’s De Civitate Dei (ms 8), Brunetto Latini’s Tresor (ms 238), Cicero’s Orationes (ms 59), and works by Seneca (ms 7).

Info: www.guarneriana.it, info@guarneriana.it

GALLERY

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The invention of the Bayeux Tapestry: an International Colloquium at the Bayeux Museum

BAYEUX (FRANCE) – The 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings (1066) marks an excellent occasion to reconsider the so-called “Tapisserie de Bayeux” not only for its historical value, which is already well known by scholars, but by highliting its artistic importance, far from being fully explored. An international Colloquium (“L’invention de la Tapisserie de Bayeux : NAISSANCE, COMPOSITION ET STYLE D’UN CHEF-D’OEUVRE MEDIEVAL”) will be held in Bayeaux from 22 to 25 September at the Bayeux Museum. Papers and talks will be presented by 23 scholars and researchers  working in different countries (France, Germany, Belgium, Great Britain, Canada and United States) who will share knowledge and experiences from different disciplines and fields of study (textiles, history of Arts, archaeology, latin language, etc.).

Access is free. Lectures are in French only. Complete programme (also in French language) is available at this link.

DU 22 AU 25 SEPTEMBRE 2016
Direction : Cécile Binet, Pierre Bouet, Shirley Ann Brown, Sylvette Lemagnen, François Neveux, Gale Owen-Crocker

For more info, please visit the official Museum Website: http://www.bayeuxmuseum.com/colloque_international_tapisser…

“Colour: The Art and Science of Illuminated Manuscripts” on display at Fitzwilliam’s in Cambridge

Colour: The Art and Science of Illuminated #Manuscripts on display at Fitzwilliam’s in #Cambridge @FitzMuseum_UK

CAMBRIDGE (UK) – A new exhibition in Cambridge, UK celebrates the Fitzwilliam Museum’s 2016 bicentenary with a stunning display of 150 manuscripts from its rich collections – many on display for the first time. “Colour. The Art and Science of Illuminated manuscripts” shows a collection which ranges from the prayer books of European royalty and merchants to local treasures like the Macclesfield Psalter, from an alchemical scroll and a duchess’ wedding gift to the ABC of a five-year old princess.

The Fitzwilliam preserves the finest and largest museum collection of illuminated manuscripts in existence, and manuscripts were at the heart of the Founder’s collection with which the Museum was established in 1816. Among the treasures which Richard, 7th Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion (1745-1816), bequeathed to the University of Cambridge were 130 illuminated manuscripts.

In his 1895 catalogue of the Founder’s collection, the Fitzwilliam Director Montague Rhodes James appealed to potential benefactors to think of the Museum as a place where their ‘manuscripts would be choicely valued, religiously preserved, and minutely investigated.’ Among the bequests and donations which flowed into the Museum over the next two decades was one of the largest and finest private collections of medieval manuscripts. In 1904, the astronomer and inventor Frank McClean bequeathed over 200 volumes and some 130 illuminated fragments. The 1912 bequest of Charles Brinsley Marlay’s eclectic collection included one of the largest groups of illuminated fragments ever amassed – well over 250. These bequests quadrupled and diversified the Museum’s holdings.

The collection grew further under James’ successor, Sydney Cockerell, the longest serving and most acquisitive Fitzwilliam Director (1908-1937) to date. His vision, scholarship and passion for manuscripts have inspired more recent acquisitions, notably the Macclesfield Psalter, purchased in 2005 with overwhelming public support.

The exhibit also showcases advanced research undertaken by the Fitzwilliam’s curators, scientists and conservators involved in the Cambridge Illuminations and MINIARE projects. It celebrates modern-day discoveries inspired by collections assembled over 200 years.  These discoveries can be seen on display at the Museum until December  30th or can be explored online at this link.

 

MADRID / BNE announces exhibit on the Beatus “Commentary on the Apocalypse” corpus this autumn

#MADRID / BNE announces exhibit on the Beatus “Commentary on the Apocalypse” corpus this autumn
#medieval #manuscripts @bne @BNE_museo @BNE_directora  

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Beatus by Facundus, f°43v (Wikipedia),

MADRID [©EP- Minima Medievalia/Perceval Archeostoria] – The BNE, Biblioteca Nacional de España, has announced a special exhibition dedicated to Beatus of Liébana’s Commentary on the Apocalypse to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the great exposition that reunited for the first time a great number of codices of the so-called “Beatus”. The exposition,  Beato. El misterio de los siete sellos (Beatus. The mystery of the Seven Seals), will be hosted by the BNE this autumn beginning on September 23rd and proposes to unlock all secrets of the most well known Commentary on John’s Book of Revelation.
Written in the eighth century by the Spanish monk and theologian Beatus of Liébana, the book is world famous for its splendid and icastic illuminated miniatures, which can be seen in  26 surviving copies decorated between the 10th and the 11th century. The illuminated versions represent the best known works of Mozarabic art, and had great  influence on the medieval art of the rest of Europe.

VISIONS OF A JUDGEMENT – As reported on the World Digital Library, “around the year 776, a monk by the name of Beato or Beatus, possibly the abbot of the monastery of Santo Toribio de Liébana, wrote a work entitled Comentarios al Apocalipsis (Commentary on the apocalypse), which had an extraordinary success in the following five centuries. Thanks to his great erudition, Beato combined in this text, as a summa, many commentaries on the topic of the apocalypse by such authors as Saint Irenaeus of Lyon, Saint Gregory the Great, Saint Isidore of Seville, and the 4th-century scholar Ticonius. The genre of apocalyptic literature appeared in the Jewish tradition in the second century BC and had never ceased to be practiced. Obsessed like his contemporaries with the imminent coming of the end of the world, which, according to the calculations of the six ages was to take place in the year 800 (838 in the Spanish era), Beato wrote this work for the edification of his monks. He emphasized that, after the final terrifying catastrophes announced by Saint John the Evangelist, good would triumph over evil”.
The original codex most likely was illuminated but unfortunately has not been preserved. Only 35 manuscript copies dating from the 9th century to the 13th century have survived. By semantic extension, these manuscripts are called beato, and 26 of them are illuminated while some others are only fragments. Two are preserved at the BNE, the National Library of Spain.
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Beatus by Facundus, f°233v (Wikipedia)

EXPO & WEBSITE – The BNE exposition will mainly feature the most iconic manuscript of the corpus, the so called “Facundus” –  Codex Vitr/14/2 -, commissioned in 1047 by King Fernando I of León and Castille and Queen Sancha, and possibly done by a monk or scribe named Facundo in San Isidoro de León. Its 98 miniatures, endowed with amazing expressiveness, are distributed mostly on colorful horizontal stripes in a unique and unmistakable style that blends the Romanesque with various Mozarab and North African influences. Prominent among them are the Four Horsemen, the vision of celestial Jerusalem, the seven-headed snake, and the destruction of Babylon. The manuscript, owned by the Marquis of Mondéjar in the late 17th century, was confiscated with the rest of his library by Philip V during the War of the Spanish Succession.

The BNE has also announced the creation of a website entirely dedicated to the  corpus of manuscripts. The series of the Beatus codexes have been included in the Unesco Memory of the World Register in 2015.

©Elena Percivaldi / Perceval Archeostoria.
Italian version by same Author, linked by permission.