Meadows Museum debuts papal codices
"The Lost Manuscripts from the Sistine Chapel: An epic journey from the Rome to Toledo" opens Sunday
Published: Thursday, January 20, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 16:11
An upcoming exhibition in the Meadows Museum is the summit of a long journey for the recently discovered 40 Papal codices. The display of "The Lost Manuscripts from the Sistine Chapel: An epic journey from Rome to Toledo," which opens on Sunday, Jan. 23, is the first and only time that they will be accessible to the public.
Dr. Elena De Laurentiis, who is the main curator of this exhibit, stumbled across photographs of these miniatures while doing research at an archive in Barcelona for another project. The papal court of arms of Pope Urban VII led her to further research, which took her to the Cathedral of Toledo, where she first laid eyes on the manuscripts.
Until her discovery, these miniatures (small paintings in books or manuscripts) were widely thought to have been an art form that ended in the 16th century after the work of Giulio Clovio ceased. Dr. Laurentiis' work showed that these works continued to develop into the Baroque period.
After extensive research and scholarship on Dr. Laurentiis' part and in a collaborative effort with Meadows, these 40 codices can be seen for a three-month period for the first time ever.
"These manuscripts have been preserved so beautifully," Meadows Museum Director Mark Roglan said. "Meadows was highly involved in the English version of the corresponding book."
The details of the folios remain fully intact and the colors vibrant, making it a visually pleasing exhibit, as well as an informative vantage point to a widely forgotten piece of history.
The earliest codices are from the 11th and 12th centuries, and the collection follows the development of this art into the 17th century.
Each work being displayed has its own unique aspect, and museum visitors will find each work as beautiful as the next. It is disappointing that only one page from each of the books can be on view, but this is an inevitable aspect because of their antiquity.
Some of the more eye-catching works are the "Missal of the Nativity of Cardinal Antoniotto Pallavicini" and the "Votice Missal of Urban VIII," however all of the works are stunning.
It is a treat for SMU's campus to have this once-in-a-lifetime exhibit on campus and because students receive free entry to the museum, there is no reason to miss out.
"The Lost Manuscripts from the Sistine Chapel: An epic journey from Rome to Toledo," is in the Meadows Museum through April 23.