In April 2012, the most important Renaissance tapestry in the Gallery’s collection went back on view following many months of conservation treatment funded by a major grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services. Woven of wool and silk in 16th-century Flanders and measuring 12 by 15 feet, Trellised Garden with Animals featured a colonnaded garden with lush foliage and wildlife. Read the whole story
Now, the work is off the wall again as part of a scheduled rotation that will extend its life and preserve its vibrant colors. In its place in the 2nd floor Renaissance Gallery you can see another recently conserved 16th-century tapestry, Battle of the Animals (detail at left). The first tapestry acquired by the Gallery, it was unveiled in 1926 for the inauguration of the McKim, Mead and White Fountain Court addition. In recent decades, however, it’s been off view because of condition issues.
Battle of the Animals features a variety of exotic, real and fantastic animals in a lush landscape dotted with castles and lodges and populated by hunters, dogs, and horses. Once again, conservation took place at the Textile Conservation Laboratory at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City and was made possible with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Gallery Buzz blog entry
Tapestry photo by John Bigelow Taylor.
Thanks to a collaboration with the Eastman School of Music, a visit to MAG’s medieval gallery will soon be a feast for the ears as well as the eyes. “Medieval Sights and Sounds” will feature period music from a new database on the free MAGart app; and a gallery guide and interactive kiosk in the recently reinstalled space.
The project, which is funded by the UR Provost’s Multidisciplinary Award, should be completed this spring.
In February, “Medieval Sights and Sounds” was the subject of “Echoes of the Middle Ages,” a concert by Schola Cantorum of Christ Church Episcopal Church, Stephen Kennedy, director; with Michael Alan Anderson, assistant professor of musicology, Eastman School of Music. It was also the subject of the March 2 “What’s Up” talk.
Listen to an interview on WXXI’s With Heart and Voice as Schola Antiqua of Chicago is featured in a half-hour broadcast heard locally on February 2. The ensemble recorded music that celebrates various objects on display in the medieval gallery. Host Peter DuBois welcomes artistic director Michael Alan Anderson and MAG curator Nancy Norwood to the studio to discuss the project.
Top of page: This 15th-century French Leaf from an Antiphonary: Music for the Office of Matins is on view in the medieval gallery.
As visitors to the 2006 exhibition Extreme Materials may remember, Devorah Sperber’s stunning installations explore the ways we see and perceive our world in the digital age. Using special software, Sperber scanned a photo of Grant Wood’s iconic painting, American Gothic. The resulting heavily-pixilated, inverted image was her blueprint to assemble 4,596 spools of thread. From close up, the viewer sees only fields of color, but upon stepping back and looking through an acrylic sphere (or is it a crystal ball?), the scene magically rights itself. See for yourself, in the exhibition corridor near the Lockhart Gallery.
Pictured: (Above right) Curators installing the work and (above left) the work itself, complete with “crystal ball.”