Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Magnificent Gems at the Morgan Library and Museum

This exhibit at The Morgan Library and Museum is a real treasure. Magnificent Gems: Medieval Treasure Bindings is something I could go see at least 1 more time. Breathtaking display of book bindings with gold, silver and fabulous gems. Be sure to try to check this one out as it runs until January 7th, 2018. 

Treasure bindings—book covers encrusted with gold, silver, and gemstones—were a luxury in the Middle Ages. Few survive, and some of the finest examples are in the Morgan’s distinguished collection. Magnificent Gems: Medieval Treasure Bindings presents these masterpieces in context for the first time. The treasure bindings on view include star sapphires, diamonds, emeralds, pearls, and garnets, alongside illuminated manuscripts and printed books that depict two-dimensional representations of these precious materials. 

Among the exhibition highlights will be the ninth-century Lindau Gospels, one of the two finest Carolingian jeweled bindings in the world, and the thirteenth-century Berthold Sacramentary, the most luxurious German manuscript of its time. In these and other examples, we learn that the application of gemstones and precious metals served to venerate the texts inside and embellish church services, as well as reflect the status and wealth of the patrons who commissioned them.

Images of “imagined” gems are also featured on the pages of manuscripts and printed books presented, including three examples of Venetian books, hand-painted by Girolamo da Cremona.  The artist’s frontispieces to Augustine’s City of God (1475), Plutarch’s Parallel Lives (1478), and Aristotle’s Opera (1483) are masterpieces of trompe-l’oeil. The last has been called the "most magnificent printed book in the world."

Maius (d. 968), Vision of the Heavenly Jerusalem, Beatus of Liébana, Commentary on the Apocalypse, in Latin; San Salvador de Tábara, Spain, ca. 945. Manuscript on vellum. Purchased by J. P. Morgan, 1919. 
These books are just wonderful to see in person, so much detail  

Jeweled cover with cast figures of Christ in Majesty and the Crucifixion set against a silver-gilt filigree background with gems. Continental, perhaps Germanic, last third of the eleventh century. On: Gospels of Judith of Flanders, in Latin, England, between 1051 and 1064, for Judith of Flanders (1032–1094). Manuscript on vellum. Purchased by J. P. Morgan, 1926

Jeweled cover with silver-gilt repoussé figures of Christ in Majesty and the symbols of the four evangelists, Continental work, last third of the eleventh century. On: Gospels of Judith of Flanders, in Latin; Canterbury, England, ca. 1060. Manuscript on vellum. Purchased by J. P. Morgan, 1926.

Makes me just speechless  

Jeweled Cover of the Lindau Gospels, possibly Salzburg, last quarter eighth century. On: The Lindau Gospels, in Latin Switzerland, Abbey of St. Gall, between 880 and 899. Manuscript on vellum. Purchased by J. Pierpont Morgan, 1901. 

Silver-repoussé and enamel cover with the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, a small Annunciation at the bottom, and busts of the 24 prophets in niches, produced in the Kayseri silversmith workshop, ca. 1700. On: Gospel Book, in Armenian, Tokat, Turkey, 23 March 1700, written by Georg (Mik'ayel's son) for Hrip 'sime, who commissioned it in memory of her parents. Manuscript on paper. Purchased on the L. W. Frohlich Charitable Trust, in memory of L. W. Frohlich and Thomas R. Burns, in recognition of their interest and contributions to the art of the written word, 1998.

One of my most favorites, just gorgeous  

Magnificent Gems: Medieval Treasure Bindings
September 8, 2017 through January 7, 2018

The Morgan Library & Museum
225 Madison Avenue at 36th Street
New York, NY 10016

The Morgan Library & Museum and the Morgan Shop are open
Tuesday through Thursday: 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday: 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Morgan closes at 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve and at 5 p.m. on New Year's Eve.
Closed Monday, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.

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