12446 - 20170319 - Dallas Museum of Art exhibition traces nature as artistic inspiration across the Middle Ages -Dallas - 04.12.2016-19.03.2017


Eucharistic dove Limoges, France. First third of the 13th century. Gilt copper, champlevé enamel, and glass cabochons. Overall: 7 1/4 x 9 5/8 x 4 1/4 in. (18.5 x 24.5 x 10.7 cm). Musée de Cluny, musée national du Moyen Âge, Paris, Cl. 1957 © RMN-Grand Palais/Art Resource, NY. Photograph: Jean-Gilles Berizzi.
This December, the Dallas Museum of Art presents a major exhibition illustrating the evolution of representations of nature across six centuries of medieval European art. The DMA is the exclusive U.S. venue for Art and Nature in the Middle Ages, which is composed of more than 100 extraordinary objects reflecting the wide range of styles, techniques and iconography that flourished during this period. Organized by the Musée de Cluny, musée national du Moyen Âge, Paris, and featuring works rarely before exhibited in the United States, the exhibition will be on view from December 4, 2016, through March 19, 2017.
“The Dallas Museum of Art has the remarkable opportunity to present this exceptional collection from the Musée de Cluny for the first time in the United States,” said Agustín Arteaga, The Eugene McDermott Director of the DMA. “We look forward to introducing both local and national audiences to rarely seen works of art, and to a distinct vision of nature developed by medieval artists in Western Europe, which still resonates today.”

Spanning the 12th to early 16th centuries, Art and Nature in the Middle Ages explores the diverse modes of expression and variety of representations of nature in medieval art, whether plant or animal, sacred or profane, real or imagined, highlighting its continuities and changes. The featured works of art emphasize the fundamental bond between humans and nature, and nature’s constant presence in the immediate environment and spiritual life of men and women in the Middle Ages.

As techniques developed and changed over time, so too did artistic depictions of the natural world. Art and Nature in the Middle Ages will trace the evolution of the treatment of flora and fauna, from the decorative stylization that prevailed during the Romanesque period to a more naturalistic approach based on close observation that characterized the Gothic. The exhibition will also highlight the legacy of ancient traditions, the role played by the great European migrations that occurred between the 5th and 7th centuries, and the influence of Islamic and Eastern art forms on medieval artisans, who were quick to adapt and invent.

Encompassing both fine and decorative art objects made for religious and everyday purposes, the DMA’s presentation will feature a wide array of media, including stained glass, precious metals and gemstones, enamel, marble, terracotta and faience ceramics, textiles and tapestries, and illuminated manuscripts. Among the notable works are rare textiles, such as a scene of chivalry from The Seigniorial Life tapestry cycle (c. 1500), and enamelwork, including the Reliquary of St. Francis of Assisi (after 1228), in addition to stained glass panels with white rose and maple leaf decorations from the Rhine Valley (c. 1330) and an aquamanile (water jug) in the form of a unicorn (c. 1400).

“We are fortunate to be able to share these outstanding examples of medieval artistry from the collection of the Musée de Cluny with audiences in the U.S. for the first time,” said Nicole R. Myers, The Lillian and James H. Clark Curator of European Painting and Sculpture. “Visitors will have the chance to experience the diverse modes of artistic expression that flourished in Western Europe during this period, as well as gain insight into the incredible inspiration that artists drew from the natural world, both lived and imagined.”

Accompanying the exhibition is a Spanish-language booklet featuring the exhibition text available for individuals to use during their visit to Art and Nature in the Middle Ages. This booklet is the first initiative implemented by Dr. Arteaga to include multilingual materials across a variety of formats in DMA exhibitions, with a goal of moving this approach to all of the Museum’s collection galleries.