Illuminating Faith at the Morgan
Illuminating Faith: The Eucharist in Medieval Life and Art is at the Morgan Library & Museum through September 2.
New book out.
Perhaps at no other time in Western history have animals played such a dominant role in the visual and literary arts as they did during the Middle Ages. Animals were prevalent and essential in all aspects of medieval life, and as a result, they were employed by artists for a variety of purposes: to illustrate saint’s lives, populate farm scenes, act as characters in fables, and even crawl among the very letters forming the text. And while artists used a host of animals, both real and fantastic, for these purposes, one of the most popular animals was man’s best friend.
Dogs were as important to humans during the Middle Ages as they are today, and this new book celebrates that association through their appearance in medieval manuscripts. A follow-up book to Kathleen Walker-Meikle’s Medieval Cats, published by the British Library in 2011, Medieval Dogs presents a wealth of dog imagery from a variety of medieval sources and is peppered with fascinating facts about the medieval view of dogs and many stories of people and their pets in the Middle Ages.
Among the themes explored in the accompanying text are the roles of the medieval dog, dog breeds, dogs and saints, the names of dogs, canine faithfulness, veterinary care of dogs, dog feeding, the mourning of dogs and burial practices, and medieval poetry about dogs, with translations of some short poems included here. Medieval Dogs is sure to charm dog lovers and medievalists alike.
Celebrating the Cloisters’ anniversary
Search for the Unicorn: An Exhibition in Honor of The Cloisters 75th Anniversary is on display through August 18.
In Fine Style: The Art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion
A new exhibit from The Royal Collection, In Fine Style: The Art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion is on display at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace through October 6.
This exhibition explores the sumptuous costume of British monarchs and their court during the 16th and 17th centuries through portraits in the Royal Collection. During this period fashion was central to court life and was an important way to display social status. Royalty and the elite were the tastemakers of the day, often directly influencing the styles of fashionable clothing.
In Fine Style follows the changing fashions of the period, demonstrates the spread of styles internationally and shows how clothing could convey important messages. Including works by Hans Holbein the Younger, Nicholas Hilliard, Van Dyck and Peter Lely, the exhibition brings together over 60 paintings, as well as drawings, garments, jewellery, accessories and armour.
Ogling ladies in medieval Germany
In the European Middle Ages, the harm a person’s gaze could cause was greatly feared. A stare was considered an act of aggression; intense gazing was believed to exert immense power over the individual observed.
The love of looking, or scopophilia, is a common motif among female figures in medieval art and literature where it is usually expressed as a motherly or sexually interested gaze—one sanctioned, the other forbidden. Sandra Summers investigates these two major variants of female voyeurism in exemplary didactic and courtly literature by medieval German authors. Setting the motif against the period’s dominant patriarchal ethos and its almost exclusive pattern of male authorship, Summers argues that the maternal gaze was endorsed as a stabilizing influence while the erotic gaze was condemned as a threat to medieval order.
In Ogling Ladies: Scopophilia in Medieval German Literature, Summers examines whether medieval artists and writers invented the idea of “ogling,” or whether they were simply recording a behavioral practice common at the time. She investigates how the act of ogling altered the narrative trajectory of female characters, and she also considers how it may have affected the regulation and restriction of women during Europe’s Middle Ages.
Treasures of the Royal Courts
This beautiful book explores the diplomatic, trade and cultural exchanges between the courts of Britain and Russia, from the reign of Henry VIII to the death of Charles II. Through the material life of the courts, the gifts of the diplomats and the commissions of the monarchs, the book presents an overview of privileged living in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries - illustrating the material life of the leading personalities of the period. Engaging and authoritative, Treasures of the Royal Courts uses superb new photography to illustrate chapters on diplomacy, silver, portraits, miniatures, arms and armour, heraldry, textiles and jewellery by experts from the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Kremlin Museum, Moscow.
(Sorry, I’ve been a bit lax on posting new books! There’s some nifty ones coming out this summer, too …)