Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Treasures at the Morgan Library

The Morgan Library and Museum in Manhattan has mounted a show entitled "Pages of Gold" which showcases leaves that were separated from manuscripts and sold individually to collectors. The New York Times reviewed the show in June, but it took me awhile to get there. The exhibition is small--it fills one good-sized room--but very affecting. It is organized by country--Italy, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Hungary--which allows the viewer to compare the different styles of medieval illumination. Some particular standouts--a page from the Winchester Bible (late twelfth century) illustrating the life of King David and showing David mourning the loss of his son; a grisly depiction from a Hungarian devotional album (14th century) of the flaying of St. Bartholomew; and an exquisite "Virgin and Child with Female Saints" (circa 1500) by the Flemish painter Gerard David. The show is on view until September 13, and if you are going to be in the New York metropolitan area, it is well worth a visit.

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