This is the first museum exhibition in the United States to focus on medieval art made in the northern Italian city of Bologna. Home to the oldest university in Europe, Bologna fostered a unique artistic culture at the end of the Middle Ages. With its large population of sophisticated readers, the city became the preeminent center of manuscript production south of the Alps, and it helped bring about a revolution in the medieval book trade. Manuscripts circulated in a thriving market of scribes, illuminators, booksellers, and customers operating mostly outside traditional monastic scriptoria. The university initially specialized in law, and many law books were illuminated in Bologna with brightly colored scenes. University professors enjoyed high social status and were buried in impressive stone tombs carved with classroom scenes.
The nearly seventy objects in the exhibition span from 1200 to 1400, from the first great flowering of manuscript illumination in Bologna to the beginnings of the construction and decoration of the ambitious Basilica of San Petronio in the city’s Piazza Maggiore. Paintings and sculptures as well as manuscripts will be on view. Lenders include the J. Paul Getty Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Morgan Library & Museum, and the National Gallery of Art.
The catalogue is now available in the Frist Art Museum gift shop.
The exhibition was made possible in part by NEA Art Works, the Anne and Joe Russell Family, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the Robert Lehman Foundation, and the Frist’s Picasso Circle members.
The exhibition catalogue is published with the assistance of The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation and Furthermore: a program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund, with additional support from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and NEA Art Works.
The Anne and Joe Russell Family
Supported in part by
Exhibition dates are subject to change.
Nerio (active late 13th–early 14th centuries). Cutting from a choirbook (antiphonary): Easter Scenes: The Three Maries at the Tomb with the Angel of the Resurrection, and The Resurrected Christ Appearing to the Three Maries (in initial A), ca. 1315. Tempera, gold, and ink on parchment, 9 3/8 x 9 3/8 in. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York, Rogers Fund, 12.56.1
Master of Saint James at the Battle of Clavijo (active ca. 1315–30). Saint Catherine of Alexandria Freed from the Wheel, from Stories of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, ca. 1330. Tempera, gold, and mosaic gold on panel, 25 x 32 1/4 in. North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, GL.60.17.14
Nicolò di Giacomo di Nascimbene, called Nicolò da Bologna (documented 1349–1403). Cutting from a choirbook (gradual): The Trinity (in initial B), ca. 1394–1402. Tempera, gold, and ink on parchment, 14 x 12 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, California, Gift of Elizabeth J. Ferrell, MS 115 (2017.122.1), leaf 1v. Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program
Seneca Master (active early 14th century). Cutting: The Sixth Day of Creation, early 14th century. Tempera and gold on parchment, 2 3/4 in. diameter. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio, The Jeanne Miles Blackburn Collection, 2006.9
Nerio (active late 13th–early 14th centuries). Leaf from Giovanni d’Andrea, Summa de sponsalibus et matrimoniis and Lectura super arboris consanguinitatis et affinitatis: The Tree of Affinity, ca. 1315. Tempera, gold, and ink on parchment, 17 1/4 x 11 1/8 in. (43.8 x 28.3 cm). The Morgan Library and Museum, New York, Purchased in 1927, MS M.715.2v
Nicolò di Giacomo di Nascimbene, called Nicolò da Bologna (documented 1349–1403). Leaf from Giovanni d’Andrea, Novella in Decretales: Frontispiece for Book 4, The Marriage; The Kiss of the Bride (in initial P); The Bride Abandoned (in initial D), ca. 1355–60. Tempera, gold, and ink on parchment, 17 1/2 x 10 3/4 in. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, Rosenwald Collection, 1961.17.5
Lando di Antonio (documented 1314–34). Leaf from a choirbook (antiphonary): The Stoning of Saint Stephen (in initial S), ca. 1325–30. Tempera, gold, and ink on parchment, 22 7/8 x 15 3/4 in. L’Engle Collection, Lakewood, Ohio, MS 8