Monday, February 01, 2010

Medieval Galleries in London

The only surviving part of the great church built at Cluny, constructed from about 1088. It was originally part of the transept.

Leaf from a choirbook
Watercolour on parchment
Germany or northern Netherlands
About 1250
The Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Missal from the Abbey of Saint-Denis
Miniatures by the Remède de Fortune Master
Ink on parchment, with watercolour and gold
Paris, France
The Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Following on yesterday`s post about Medieval Europe, you might be interested in the Victoria and Albert Museum`s new Medieval and Renaissance Galleries

The galleries tell the story of European art and culture from AD 300–1600; from the decline of the Roman Empire to the end of the Renaissance period

If you cannot make the trip to London, a visit to the special website which the Museum has put up is thoroughly recommended.

It is excellent and sets new standards for websites of public museums and art galleries.

Special commendations have to be given to the Trustees and the members of staff who helped put up such an educational (but also enjoyable) experience. And all gratis.

Amongst the features are sections on:

1. Medieval monasteries 1050-1250: the period of the talks of Pope Benedict XVI prior to Christmas

2. Religious processions 1300-1500

3. Gothic architecture 1200-1350: again the subject of a recent talk by His Holiness

4. There is a very good section on Medieval Music 1000-1400 which incorporates a series of recordings made by The Royal College of Music for the Galleries and available on the website. There are recordings of Gregorian chant of pieces from illuminated manuscripts in the V and A collection.

The recorded chants include:

- Domine ne in ira tua (Lord Reprove me not in your anger) where the words and notation are written on a beautifully illuminated leaf in the V&A's collection. The leaf was once part of a choirbook made around 1250

-Salve Pater Dyonisi (Hail Father Denis), which is a new recording made especially for the Medieval & Renaissance Galleries of a piece of music has not been recorded before. It comes from a missal probably made around 1350 in Paris for use at one of the altars at the royal abbey of St Denis. This missal was commissioned for the abbey of St Denis, and because it was used there, the manuscript includes specific references to both the Abbey and its patron saint, Saint Denis. Salve Pater Dyonisi would have been performed on the Feast Day of Saint Denis