Celebrating its bicentenary, the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge shows its rich collection of stunning illuminated manuscripts, many of them displayed for the first time.
The hundreds of images sheltered in volumes that were cherished in princely and religious libraries for centuries constitute the largest and best preserved repositories of medieval and Renaissance painting. With most panel and wall paintings destroyed by war, greed, puritanical zeal or time, illuminated manuscripts are the richest resources for the study of early European painting.
The exhibition shows over 150 of the Fitzwilliam Museum's finest illuminated manuscripts representing the leading artistic centres of medieval and Renaissance Europe. Ranging from the prayer books of European royalty and merchants to an alchemical scroll, a duchess’ wedding gift, the ABC of a five-year old princess and local treasures like the Macclesfield Psalter, the show invites visitors to examine in detail the artistic, intellectual and historic significance of the manuscripts.
The exhibition aims to re-construct the creative process, from the artists' original ideas through their choice of pigments and technical expertise to the finished works. It demonstrates how artists strove to break the barrier between images and viewers by engaging the senses, stimulating the mind, and stirring up emotions.
COLOUR: The Art and Science of Illuminated Manuscripts
30 July – 30 December 2016