samedi 20 juin 2009

Pen and Parchment: Drawing in the Middle Ages

Pen and Parchment: Drawing in the Middle Ages
June 2, – August 23, 2009
Galleries for Drawings, Prints, and Photographs
The Metropolitan Museum of Art - New York

“With strokes of genius, artists in the Middle Ages explored the medium of drawing, creating a rich array of works ranging from spontaneous sketches to powerful evocations of spirituality to intriguing images of science and the natural world. Through some fifty examples created in settings as diverse as ninth-century monastic scriptoria to the fourteenth-century French court, the presentation considers the aesthetics, uses, and techniques of medieval drawings, mastered by artists working centuries before the dawn of the Renaissance. Early maps, artists’ sketchbooks, and masterfully decorated manuscripts count among the important loans from American and European museums, and the great national, university, and monastic libraries of Europe.”

Byrhtferth’s Diagram; Computus Diagrams, from the Thorney Computus Cambridgeshire, England; ca. 1102–10 Saint John’s College, Oxford, MS 17
“This volume is an album of texts and graphic material organized aroundcomputus (literally, “computation”), the medieval science of reckoning time and fixing the dates of ecclesiastical feasts, particularly Easter. Byrhtferth’s digram is a visual meditation on the cosmic and religious resonances of computus, its subject the harmony of the twelve months and four elements, of time and the material world. The tables on the opposite page show a series of diagrams used for determining lunar cycles, days of the week, and divination diagrams based on numerical values assigned to the letters.”

Opicinus de Canistris (1296–ca. 1354), Diagram with Zodiac Symbols, folio 24r Avignon, France, 1335–50 Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Vatican City, Pal. Lat. 1993
“This highly colorful and complicated folio coordinates a vast amount of information, far more than any of Opicinus’s other drawings. It includes more than twenty separate sets of content, including the prophets, symbols of the zodiac, doctors of the Church, four monastic orders, the months, days, an implied world map, the genealogy of Mary, personifications of the Church, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the four types of Biblical exegesis, the four Evangelists, the apostles, and the names of the letters of Paul. Opicinus clearly intended the drawing to be complicated and to require extensive meditation and exegesis. He made use of the medieval diagrammatic tradition in order to probe the connections between the cosmic, earthly, and the corporeal.”

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