The Crusader Bible is one of the most extraordinary illuminated manuscripts ever created, renowned for its unrivaled and boldly colored illustrations and for its fascinating history. The work brings Old Testament stories to life in bright images replete with medieval castles, towns, and battling knights in armor, all set in thirteenth-century France. On view beginning October 17, this exhibition offers visitors the rare opportunity to view over forty folios from the disbound manuscript, the work of seven unknown artists who were clearly masters in their day. The exhibition runs through January 4, 2015.
The provenance of the Crusader Bible is as intriguing as its artistry, and includes a trail running from France to Italy, Poland, Persia, Egypt, England, and finally, New York. Additionally, a selection of period artifacts and armor, on special loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, will offer visitors tangible evidence of the objects depicted so dramatically in the book.
Within the context of other artistic commissions as well as the crusading activities of King Louis IX of France, a body of circumstantial evidence points to his patronage of the Crusader Bible. Stylistic and iconographic parallels occur in the decorative program of the Gothic Sainte-Chapelle, which Louis built to house the relics of Christ’s Passion. The biblical kings are especially emphasized in both the imagery of the Crusader Bible and at the Sainte-Chapelle; they are also intentionally shown in crusader armor. ...more