Monday, September 17, 2018


These two panels were mounted on a wall as part of the exhibit. They are on loan from our National Gallery, and date circa 1450-1500. Thought to be done by the Italian Neri di Bicci, these angels may have been part of the altarpiece The Assumption Of The Virgin at the Spini chapel in Santa Trinita Church in Florence.

Here we have Scripture. Dating circa 1420-1440, and done on vellum in Latin, this contains the Epistle to the Colossians from the New Testament. It is on loan to the exhibit from the rare books collection at McGill University in Montreal, which also loaned the last item I'll show today.

Below are papal seals. The first was attached to a document from Pope Urban VI, whose reign was from 1378-1389, and whose reign saw the start of the Western Schism and period of two rival popes. The second was that of Martin V, whose papacy picked up when the Schism ended in 1417 and lasted until 1431.

Thematic panels continued to lead the way.

These lead glazed earthenware tiles depict mythical creatures like dragons. They date to the 13th century, when common beliefs held that such creatures still existed in far off lands.

Here we have another of the tapestries from the Victoria and Albert Museum. This depicts wild men and wild women around those mythical creatures, and dates back to that period as well. Tapestry design became an art throughout the medieval age, across Europe. This one was likely made in what is now Switzerland.

It wasn't just religious or courtly life that marked the middle ages in Europe. Life in general was part of this exhibit, in terms of utensils you might find for eating, and medical matters.

The black death, or bubonic plague, lingered over Europe in the 14th century, killing millions. This is explored in this display case and panels. The doctor's mask of the time, meant to stave off infections, is a reproduction of a model that was done around 1700. A few days before I had come to the exhibit, I had watched Inferno again, the most recent of the Dan Brown adaptations, and those masks appear in the film.

I finish this look at the exhibit with a page from the Gutenberg Bible, a legacy of the medieval era. The printer made it possible for thousands of pages of a manuscript to be made, and was a significant factor in the passage from the Middle Ages into the Renaissance and Reformation. This page is from the book of Jeremiah, and dates to 1455. Tomorrow we'll have some more views from around the museum, as I can never resist going down into the Grand Hall.


  1. The mask is scary. I wonder how effective the mask is in staving off infection. Interesting to look at the utensil of that time! Have a wonderful new week!

  2. It is strange how you can see something for the first time, as with your doctor's mask, and then coincidentally another one appears a few days later.

  3. ...not the healthiest of times to be alive.

  4. Fascinationg glimpse back seven hundred years!

  5. @Nancy: it was an odd preventative measure.

    @Rosemary: and it's a weird mask!

    @Francisco: thanks!

    @Tom: definitely not.

    @Marie: indeed!

  6. Hello, wonderful exhibit. I like the tapestry and earthenware. I would not want my doctor wearing that mask.
    Happy Monday, enjoy your day and new week!

  7. Such wide margins on those pages. I wonder why? It seems like wasted space, but maybe they did it that way for a reason.

  8. For most people those were dark and scary ages, I suppose.

  9. I also wonder how effective the mask was. But in any case that was a very scary time in history.

  10. Fascinating! I saw a Gutenberg Bible on display at the University of Texas in Austin a few years ago. It was beautiful.

  11. Seeing these articles seems to put us right back in the time with the people.

  12. I do love a great museum and this looks like one I could love.

  13. @Eileen: thanks!

    @Sandi: yes, I found that unusual.

    @Jan: true, but with some light to be found.

    @DJan: this was before doctors were really getting any sense about how infectious diseases were transferred.

    @Lois: this page was.

    @Red: that's true.

    @Sharon: I enjoy visiting it.

  14. Wow!! So much history. How lovely.

  15. The tapestry of mythical creatures is amazing. So colorful!


  16. What - there is no such thing as a dragon?

  17. Lots of history of how life was back then. A very interesting exhibit.

  18. i am always a fan of anything history. love it. ( ;

  19. Thought at first that you were traveling in Europe. Scrolled back to catch up (as I'd planned to do anyway) and now am in utter awe and amazement at what the Museum of History offers. What a fantastic exhibit.Though not as showy as some of what you share, seeing actual pages from the Gutenberg Bible would be the one that makes my heart beat quicker! Imagine back before when only wealthy people would be able to read the hand-letter manuscripts that were available.

  20. I'm always in awe of books like this one above.

  21. @Lady Fi: it was quite an exhibit.

    @Janis: it was beautifully done.

    @RedPat: no, more's the pity! :)

    @Bill: I certainly think so.

    @Beth: this is a terrific museum.

    @Sallie: I've seen that type of thing before- this museum did a special exhibit some years ago with a copy of the Magna Carta. That had that effect on me.

    @Klara: so am I.

  22. That type of mask has always intrigued me. So scary...wonder if it worked.

  23. This exhibit really covers a lot and is very interesting. I've always enjoyed looking at illuminated manuscripts like these.

  24. Fascinating exhibit William. I've just finished reading Dan Brown's latest book Origin, was good ☺

  25. Your posts and photos always display history sooo well!

    Happy Day to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores

  26. This exhibit looks fascinating. I think I have to check out Inferno, too.

  27. I've never seen a Gutenberg Bible before.

  28. Any kind of medieval history is fascinating to me!

  29. Yes, the black death, or bubonic plague, lingered over Europe in the 14th century, killing millions …
    I recently watched a programme about it and these masks featured.

    All the best Jan

  30. @Michelle: it does look frightening.

    @Kay: me too.

    @Grace: I've read it several times.

    @Carol: thank you!

    @Jeanie: thanks!

    @Norma: nor had I.

    @Jenn: me too.

    @Beth: thanks!

    @Jan: it was a terrifying time.