Cleveland Museum of Art Presents The Glory of the Painted Page Manuscript Illuminations from the Permanent Collection

The Cleveland Museum of Art presents The Glory of the Painted Page Manuscript Illuminations from the Permanent Collection, open November 6, 2010-February 27, 2011.

The history of the book forms one of the chief categories of the material culture of medieval and Renaissance Europe. Its history spans at least a millennium, and for many of us today these handwritten, richly embellished works of art represent the quintessential form of medieval artistic expression. Their appeal is both intimate and timeless. The illuminated manuscript is undoubtedly the most tactile and recognizable of all such collectibles from this era.

Gothic Bible (Vulgate) (detail), France, Toulouse(?), ca. 1275-1300. Bound illuminated manuscript in Latin; brown morocco binding; Ink, tempera and gold on vellum; 533 leaves. John L. Severance Fund 2008.2

The history of manuscript illumination corresponds almost exactly with the epoch we know as the Middle Ages, a vast period of about a thousand years. An illuminated manuscript is a book that was written and decorated by hand sometime between the fall of Rome, in the late 5th century AD, and the perfection of printing technology towards the end of the 15th century. Its texts were written on vellum (animal skin), not paper. These were enlivened by the application of colorful inks, pigments, and gold. In antiquity, literature was thought of as something spoken or heard. The Middle Ages broke with this tradition by considering a literary text as something to be revealed visually to be understood through the written word. Often elaborately decorated in a multitude of styles and formats, illuminated manuscripts flourished in ecclesiastical, monastic, devotional, courtly, legal, and academic contexts throughout the Middle Ages and early Renaissance. This exhibition presents a selection of liturgical, academic, and biblical leaves from the museum’s permanent collection.

The exhibition complements Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics, and Devotion in Medieval Europe, on view October 17, 2010–January 17, 2011, in the Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation Exhibition Hall.

Organized by the Cleveland Museum of Art. The Cleveland Museum of Art is generously funded by Cuyahoga County residents through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. The Ohio Arts Council helped fund this exhibition with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans.

The Cleveland Museum of Art was founded in 1913 “for the benefit of all the people forever.” The museum strives to help the broadest possible audience understand and engage with the world’s great art while honoring the highest aesthetic, intellectual, and professional standards.

The Cleveland Museum of Art
11150 East Boulevard
Cleveland, Ohio 44106
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