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Pen and Parchment

The exhibition is made possible by the Michel David-Weill Fund.

Additional support is provided by Mrs. Alexandre P. Rosenberg.

The catalogue is made possible in part by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

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Pen and Parchment: Drawing in the Middle Ages

Program information

In conjunction with Pen and Parchment: Drawing in the Middle Ages (on view June 2–September 1, 2009), exhibition curator Melanie Holcomb delves into the powerful, seldom-seen work of medieval draftsmen, including drawings created long before the Renaissance, in settings as diverse as ninth-century monastic scriptoria to the fourteenth-century French court.

Recorded June 7, 2009

Pen and Parchment

Drawing in the Middle Ages

June 2–September 1, 2009

Accompanied by an exhibition blog and a catalogue

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. This exhibition, the first to examine in depth the achievements of the medieval draftsman, includes many works that have never before been lent outside their home countries. 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.