A new earthquake strikes Central Italy. On Wednesday, October 26th 2016, some minutes after 7pm, two tremors reported 5.5 and 6.1 magnitude caused major damages and building collapses in Umbria ad Marche, but luckily no victims.
The beautiful medieval church of St. Salvatore di Campi di Norcia, Umbria, almost completely collapsed. Below are some dramatic images of the church, before and after the strikes.
The epicentres were near the village of Visso, located on the edge of the region of Marche close to the border with Umbria. Visso is just 70 kilometres (45 miles) from Amatrice, striked by a powerful earthquake last August, and also not far from L’Aquila where another tremendous event killed more than 300 in 2009.
PARIS – Reflecting Roman influences and distinguished by unprecedented forms of power, the start of the Middle Ages is marked by the development of original forms of expression which have often been overlooked. The exhibition The Merovingian Age, which will be shown at the Cluny Museum in Paris, France, from October 26th 2016 to February 13th 2017 offers a lavish panorama of the artistic and intellectual productivity of this period of three centuries, beginning with the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains in 451 and culminating with the deposition of the last of the «Kings who did nothing» in 751.
More than 150 objects, sculptures, illuminated manuscripts, works of gold and silversmiths, coins, textiles and even charters have been brought together thanks to a partnership with the National Library of France. Many masterpieces from the Cabinet des Médailles are on show, including the remains of the treasure of King Childeric, the treasure of Gourdon and the famous throne of Dagobert. The Frankish kingdom was one of a multitude of new kingdoms loyal to an enduring imperial ideal inspired by Rome but influenced by Germanic and Anglo-Saxon practices.
The spread of Christianity led to the development of new beliefs : the cult of relics, at the same time as some pagan traditions were incorporated into the liturgical rituals which emerged during this period. This profound originality reveals itself in the artistic production of the Merovingians, and in the wealth of materials and colors that are astonishing even today. The diversity of written forms demonstrates the intellectual expansion which enlivens monastic and episcopal centers, the creative sources where an erudite culture developed. Works of art such as the chasuble of Queen Bathilde, coins, or the charters of Frankish kings attest to the complexity of expressions of power, combining a classical heritage with innovative forms. Manuscripts of the VIIth and VIIIth centuries coming notably from the department of Manuscripts of the National Library of France, the libraries of Laon and Autun, the National Library of Russia, the Vatican Library, and the National Archives of France, are placed in a new dialogue with the collections of the Cluny Museum and the loans from the National Museum of Archaeology at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, the British Museum; the Museum of the art and history of the Jura at Delemont, and the Museum Alfred-Bonno at Chelles.
Musée de Cluny – National Museum of the Middle Ages
6, place Paul Painlevé 75005 Paris
T. + 33 (0)1 53 73 78 16 musee-moyenage.fr
Days and hours of opening
Every day except Tuesday, from 9:15 am to 5:45 pm. Desk closes at 5:15 pm. Closed 1st January, 1st May and 25th December
An exhibition of over 120 illuminated pages and initials from one of the most important collections of miniatures worldwide, once owned by Count Vittorio Cini and presented to the Foundation in 1962
VENICE (ITALY) – A great exhibition entitled Mindful Hands. Masterpieces of Illumination from the Fondazione Giorgio Ciniis due to be staged on the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice from 17 September 2016 to 8 January 2017 (official opening: Friday, 16 September 2016). Produced by the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Studio Michele De Lucchi and Factum Arte, the exhibition is being organised with the support of the Helen Hamlyn Trust and the contribution of Pirelli. For the first time in over 35 years more than half of one of the most fascinating, invaluable Fondazione Cini collections will be on show: the collection of 236 miniatures acquired by Count Vittorio Cini from the Libreria Antiquaria Hoepli in Milan in 1939-1940, and presented to the Foundation in 1962. Visitors will be able to admire a selection of over 120 of the most significant and important miniatures in the collection plus a group of particularly fine illuminated codices. The academic curators of the project are Federica Toniolo, a lecturer in the History of Illuminated Manuscripts at the University of Padua, and Massimo Medica, director of the Museo Civico Medievale, Bologna, who were also responsible for cataloguing the entire collection.
One of the most important of its kind in the world, the Vittorio Cini miniature collection is made up of anthologies of illuminated leaves and cuttings of initials, mostly from liturgical works (graduals and antiphonals), comparable both in type and quality to collections such as the Wildenstein, now in the Musée Marmottan, Paris, or the Lehman collection, previously in storage in the Metropolitan Museum, New York. The Cini collection is representative of the principal regional Italian schools of manuscript illumination and includes works by some of the most pre-eminent illuminators, active from the 12th to the 16th centuries.
“Mindful Hands is part of the series of major exhibitions that the Fondazione Cini periodically holds to showcase its own collections, a remarkable heritage in historical, artistic and scholarly terms but little-known to the wider public”, explains Pasquale Gagliardi, Secretary General of the Fondazione Cini. “We have been working on this ambitious project focused on the collection of miniatures for years. The collection is unique in Italy and among the few of such high quality in the world. We achieved excellent results in terms of visitors and critical reception for the 2010 exhibition on the etchings of Giambattista Pianesi, for which all the works came from the archives of San Giorgio Maggiore. This encouraged us to continue the mission of promoting the so-called minor arts. And in fact the illuminators’ superb craftsmanship is in no way inferior to that of artists in other sectors of art.”
Produced with the coordination of the scholarly aspects by the Fondazione Cini Institute of Art History, the exhibition will have a fascinating itinerary created ad hoc for the spaces of the Sale del Convitto by the Studio Michele De Lucchi, aimed at also intriguing the non-specialist visitor. The exhibition will also be an opportunity to explore a specific phenomenon of collecting and taste: the practice of dismembering manuscripts – now deplorable – and putting only the leaves with figures, often only cuttings with initials, on the antiquarian market.
The only exhibit that does not now belong to the Fondazione Giorgio Cini is the magnificent Antiphonarium Q, on display courtesy of the library of the Benedictine Abbey of San Giorgio. A detached leaf from this codex is now in the Cini collection and it will be shown alongside the book at the beginning of the exhibition, thus virtually reuniting them and stressing that the image must always be seen in its textual context.
But Mindful Hands is much more than a straightforward display of exhibits. An integral part of the project has been the collaboration with Adam Lowe’s Factum Arte, experts on digital techniques applied to the conservation, reproduction and interpretation of works of art. Digital media organised in a thoroughgoing art installation will highlight and “translate” this extraordinary heritage in a modern key. In this way visitors will be guided through the last sections devoted to the analysis and comprehension of the techniques involved in making illuminated manuscripts. There will also be an opportunity to examine close up two of the most precious manuscripts thanks to large-scale animations and reproductions: the Martirologio di Ferrara and the small but invaluable Book of Hours, commissioned by Ludovico il Moro. In addition, Factum Arte will make a facsimile of the Book of Hours for visitors to touch and leaf through.
The Helen Hamlyn Trust is an independent grant making Trust. Its principal focus is on the initiation of medium and long-term projects linked to the shared interests of Lady Hamlyn and her late husband Lord Hamlyn. The Trusts core ethos is to support the development of innovative projects, which aim to effect lasting change and improve quality of life. The Trust works in the fields of medicine; the arts and culture; education and welfare; healthy ageing; international humanitarian affairs; and heritage and conservation in India.
Bernard Gui (1260-1331) was a Friar-Preacher perhaps best known as an Inquisitor against the Albigensians (or Cathars). He ended his career as Bishop of Lodève. This manuscript (R.4.23) includes various works by Bernard, but we are highlighting the beautifully illustrated genealogical tree – Arbor genealogie regum – which traced the lineage of the French Kings from their Trojan origins (ff. 49v-52v).
Each page is a sequence of illuminated pictures which narrate the succession and genealogy of the kings of France. Each king is represented standing in a medallion in which their name and the length of their reign is also written. The kings have the royal insignia – the crown and sceptre – and are dressed in gowns covered with the fleur-de-lys. Beside them there are usually some smaller medallions in which their ancestors, offspring and spouses appear.
The tree begins on f.49v with medallions representing the chiefs…
A new Canadian research project is collecting big data from medieval melodies chanted by monks more than 1,000 years ago. And it’s all searchable. But to what end?
Kate Helsen, an assistant musicology professor at Western University’s Don Wright Faculty of Music, is part of the Optical Neume Recognition Project and explains that this study is the most technologically advanced method of investigating what was previously a completely oral culture – a time and place, when and where people didn’t conceive of writing music down at all – and through greater understanding of these 11th century monks, researchers can now study how the human brain constructs, comprehends and reconstructs everything from language and literature to math and music.
The Optical Neume Recognition Project uses modified optical character recognition (OCR) technology to study medieval musical notation called neumes. This unique computing initiative identifies each neume on a digital…
The Complutense University of Madrid has organized a new summer school hosted at the Geography and History Faculty for this coming July entitled “Writing and documents: Paleography, Diplomatics and Archival Science” (language: Spanish).
Glossing was a widespread cultural practice wherever books were being read, studied and taught, from western Europe to East Asia. Glossing fulfilled a variety of functions, including translation, guided reading, textual interpretation, education, and transmission of knowledge. Glosses—whether words or symbols—also reflect complex interactions between a wide variety of languages, from local vernaculars to international languages of high prestige.
Despite the huge number of glossed manuscripts that survive and their rich evidence for cultural and linguistic traditions, the field of glossing research remains underdeveloped. Much of the primary evidence has never been properly studied; we lack good interpretative frameworks; and exchange between different scholarly disciplines remains at a very early stage.
The purpose of this network is to promote more and better collaboration between specialists in the field. Click here for more information.