The current exhibition at the Musée de Cluny offers a journey through time and space during the Middle Ages. ‘Voyager au Moyen Âge’ (‘Travelling in the Middle Ages’) hosts a variety of key aspects of travel in the Medieval period. As one walks around the exhibition, which is currently on show in the third-century Gallo-Roman thermal bathing hall, you are presented with different types of traveller, from the merchant to the pilgrim, the prince to the artist. Furthermore, the exhibition highlights the diverse reasons for travelling during this time, encompassing specific issues such as the aspiration for knowledge, the need to demonstrate visibility within specific societies and the journey of the afterlife. On show are a selection of varying objects, including tapestries and reliquaries taken on travel, to illuminated manuscripts illustrating maps of various countries. Probably the most notable artefact is displayed right in the centre of the exhibition – the fragments of a medieval boat which have been recreated to provide a tangible sense of the physical nature of such journeys and what they may have entailed.
Overall, the objects on show are interesting, and offer one an insight into the various aspects of travel during the Middle Ages. The exhibition closes on 23rd February 2015, so there’s still time left to be transported and travel through the life of a medieval voyager.
Firstly I would like to apologize for the lack of blog posts so far this Easter! I’ve been pretty busy, so unfortunately have no found the time to write as much as I would have liked. I am, however, slogging away attempting to write my dissertation. It’s taking a while, and I am finding it hard (I have so much I want to say, but have no idea how to articulate it), but the show must go on!
Anyway, this is a bit of a random post. I was looking on BuzzFeed the other day (my guilty pleasure), and I saw this awesome article about paintings throughout art history which have been ‘updated’ by a Ukrainian artist called Nastya Ptichek. I thought it was pretty entertaining, so have uploaded a few of her images to this post! They’re petty cool, and I think they will speak out to a lot of us who use social media. It’s very clear. So even though I am procrastinating, I have still managed to find a way of including art history. Some of the images (the religious ones) run parallel to my revision for my exam in May. So really, I’m technically still doing some ‘work’! Yeah right…
Between February 25th and May 18th the Cloisters Museum at the MET in New York is hosting an exhibition presenting stained glass from England’s historic Canterbury Cathedral, dating from 1178-80. I find this concept quite unusual I’m not going to lie, as the exhibitions features six Romanesque-period windows that have never left the cathedral since their creation. Bringing stained-glass from the Cathedral to the MET – why when you can just go to Canterbury itself? I guess through bringing the glass over the pond, so to speak, allows more people to see the beauty of Canterbury’s windows. However, I feel that taking such works out of their religious context renders them almost ‘dumb’ in the sense that they’re not functioning in the religious manner that they should be. I guess times have changed so much anyway, that perhaps the religious function of the stained glass windows are becoming more over-looked and less part of their identity. Having studied Canterbury Cathedral last term, I fell in love with it. I have never been there myself, but having seen and learnt about it through images and online 3-D tours I would love to visit.
If anyone is feeling incredibly generous and would like to provide me with tickets (and travel…) to go to the MET to see this exhibition I will love you forever!
I have finally entered into the 21st century, and have created a Flickr account! On it you can view all the various photos that I have taken on my trips with the History of Art department to Paris, and some other own personal snaps that I have taken when I have been out and about around the world!
The Norman Rea Gallery in Derwent College is currently hosting a series of photographs by Emily Garthwaite. Portraying various scenes such as portraits and landscape photographs, this series captures a poignant and personal journey around India. In September 2013, Garthwaite embarked on a ‘pilgrimage’ around India to follow her family history. Garthwaite travels with her camera and her grandmother’s ashes in order to visually capture the spiritual and personal journey through India to choose the perfect spot to scatter these ashes. Garthwaite invites us on this poignant journey through her identity and heritage.
The exhibition runs from February 24th to March 7th. I haven’t seen the exhibition yet, but plan on going next week and hopefully will aim to write a brief review of it. This is the last exhibition of the term, so don’t miss out!
After a long and tiring previous day, we had to get up extra early in order to catch our morning train to Chartres. Located outside of Paris, our journey consisted of traveling on a double-decker train! (I’ve been on such trains before, but every time I go on one I still act like a small child getting all exciting at experiencing something different!) When we arrived at Chartres, we were welcomed by a hazy morning mist which surrounded the top of the cathedral’s western towers. The photo above does not do the scene we saw justice, it was truly magical.
The first thing on our agenda of the day, was heading down to the crypt to have a guided tour. Despite the tour being in French (and my French is not so good!), it was still really interesting to have a look at the previous Romanesque chapels. The crypt of Chartres Cathedral was once used as a hospital, so it seems somewhat surreal to imagine ill people resting below (the crypt was not the warmest of parts of the cathedral, so I have no idea how they coped!)
We also spent our time exploring the various sculpture of the cathedral, including the infamous west royal portal facade. I was lucky enough to go to Chartres on the last History of Art trip to Paris with ‘Death and Devotion in the Gothic Imagination’, and so this time round I was able to really focus on the certain aspects that I had neglected on the previous trip. However, whilst we were looking at the various portals, there was a bitter cold wind surrounding us and it began to rain – just our luck! So after spending time looking at the portals, we dashed inside to attempt to get some warmth, although the interior of the cathedral seemed just as cold as the outside!
The one thing about studying Medieval art that I believe completely changes your perception of it, is actually experiencing the works/objects/architecture in person. It really does change your perception of what you are looking at, and makes you catch a small glimpse into how it would have been perceived so many centuries ago. Obviously we can never actually truly understand what medievals thought about what they were looking at, but I still think it’s fascinating that despite standing in front of the various stained glass windows 800 or so years on, we are seeing what they saw.
Chartres is a lovely place, with quaint cafes and the odd tourist shop. We had a great day looking around the cathedral, and despite the weather being horrible I still really enjoyed my time there.
Sadly our time in Paris had come to an end, and the next day (Friday 21st February) we had to depart to London in order to make our way back to York. In the morning, some friends and I went to Galeries Lafayette, which is an amazing department store located on Boulevard Haussmann. The building is full of amazing designer clothes – labels I can only dream of wearing one day! Once we had travelled through what seemed like a labyrinth we ascended to the top of the building, which hosts a small cafe and some of the most amazing views of Paris. I could not get over the views – absolutely breathtaking. I have been at the top of Notre-Dame Cathedral before, but I think that these views were better! I could not think of a better way to round the trip together.
I had an amazing time in Paris, although we only spent a brief amount of time there. Next year I plan on having a gap year, and will hopefully perfect my French! I would like to spend the year in France to work on improving my French, as the following year I want to go on to complete a masters in Medieval France, specifically relating to the French Medieval Gothic art and architecture – that’s the dream! So coming to Paris this February has intensified and fuelled my desire to make these things happen!