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C’est magnifique: Manuscript exhibition vividly illuminates the art of Medieval France

URL: http://www.jewishjournal.com/holiday_preview/article/cest_magnifique_manuscript_exhibition_vividly_illuminates_the_art_of_mediev

The development of manuscript illumination is perhaps one of the lesser-known chapters in the history of French art, largely overshadowed by the popularity of later — especially Impressionist — painting in France. But, as a new exhibition at the Getty Center shows, artistic invention was alive and well in medieval France — within the pages of books. “Imagining the Past in France, 1250-1500,” on view through Feb. 6, explores the theme of history in manuscripts, focusing on how images were used both to enhance and influence audiences’ experience of the text. The works here have been culled by co-curators Elizabeth Morrison of the Getty and Anne D. Hedeman, a University of Illinois professor, from collections throughout Europe and the United States and contain lavish illustrations of epic adventures and heroism. These range from biblical stories of Creation, King David and Jesus, to histories of Caesar, Alexander the Great and Louis XII, all of which served not only to entertain France’s emerging bourgeoisie, but also to further an evolving national identity. In addition, the exhibition showcases more than 200 years of artistic innovation, some of which laid the groundwork for developments in French and European painting for decades to come.

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