By Stuart Frost
I spent last weekend visiting friends and family in York. The city’s museums hold some tremendously rare survivals but anyone with an interest in medieval history will know the architectural riches that York offers.
York Minster, the largest medieval cathedral in England, is full of graceful architectural detail and other historically important treasures. The city itself is enclosed by a circuit of walls that run for almost two miles and thanks to modern restoration it is possible to stroll along the wall-walk for the entire length. There are the remains of two castles, Clifford’s Tower and on the other side of the river Ouse the remains of a motte. I haven’t even mentioned the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey, the numerous parish churches and the secular architecture that includes magnificent guildhalls and the street known as the Shambles.
However the main purpose of this blog entry is related to New York in the United States rather old York in North Yorkshire. The American city does contain many medieval and Renaissance masterpieces but unlike old York they’re confined to museums and galleries rather than embedded in the fabric of the city itself. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has an outstanding collection of medieval and Renaissance art but the displays at the Museum have recently been enhanced by a group of thirty-five objects. The exhibition, Medieval and Renaissance Treasures from the Victoria and Albert Museum, will be at the Metropolitan Museum of art until August 17 2008.
The display is comprised of outstanding objects that are rarely lent including five Carolingian ivory panels that formed the front cover of a Gospel book, Donatello’s bronze Winged Putto with Fantastic Fish and one of Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks. Of the photographs I’ve reproduced here, one highlights one of the displays just after the objects have been installed. The other shows staff at the Metropolitan Museum taking the opportunity to view the objects before they were installed in the cases.
After the exhibition closes at the Metropolitan Museum it will move to the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, 13 September 2008 - 4 January 2009. Then the objects will return to the UK to be installed at the Millennium Galleries in Sheffield , 29 January - 24 May 2009. After the display at Sheffield draws to a close the objects will return to the V&A to be installed in the new galleries which open late in 2009. By the time that are back in South Kensington many of thousands of visitors in north America and in Yorkshire will have had an opportunity to see some of the V&A’s most historically significant and aesthetically beautiful objects.
Click here to find out more about Medieval and Renaissance Treasures from the Victoria and Albert Museum at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.