Friday, February 06, 2009

Sacred Beauty: Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts from the Collection of Robert J. Parsons

Nasher Museum of Art Presents Illuminated Manuscripts
29 January 2009
Duke University

An exhibition of Medieval and Renaissance illuminated manuscripts from France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain will be presented by the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. The exhibition, "Sacred Beauty: Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts from the Collection of Robert J. Parsons," features pages with miniature painted scenes of religious subjects. The exhibition is on view from Jan. 29 through May 10.

The manuscripts are "illuminated" with burnished gold leaf or gold in liquid form that contains ground gold powder applied with a pen or brush. The vellum pages were made from treated calfskin, and are vividly colored with tempera paints made from natural materials and precious gems ground into pigments. All come from religious books, most from the 15th and 16th centuries.

The collection was assembled by Robert J. Parsons (Ph.D. in English, '80), who began collecting while he was a student at Duke. The installation is accompanied by religious works of the 14th to 17th centuries from the Nasher Museum's permanent collection, including stained-glass windows, paintings, sculpture and a complete book of hours.

"These important centuries-old manuscript pages are of an extraordinary quality and make for a jewel box of an installation," said Kimerly Rorschach, Mary D.B.T. and James H. Semans Director of the Nasher Museum. "I hope visitors will enjoy making connections between the exquisite scenes in the manuscripts and popular works in our permanent collection."

The Nasher Museum of Art is located at 2001 Campus Drive at Anderson Street on the Duke campus. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday; and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The museum is closed Mondays.

Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and members of the Duke Alumni Association, $3 for non-Duke students with identification and free for children 16 and younger. Admission is free to all on Thursday nights. Admission is free to Duke students, faculty and staff with Duke Cards. Admission is also free to Nasher Museum members and Durham city residents who present a valid identification with proof of residency.

Additional information is available at Support for the exhibition comes from the Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies at Duke and Duke Divinity School.