“Illumination: Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts from the Figge Collection" at the Figge Art Museum -- May 18 through August 11.

Saturday, May 18, through Sunday, August 11

Figge Art Museum, 225 West Second Street, Davenport IA

With Davenport's Figge Art Museum holding a small yet impressive collection of Medieval and early-Renaissance manuscripts from Europe, the Middle East, and India, a selection of 12 of these works will be on view from May 18 to August 11, as Illumination: Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts from the Figge Collection offers a cross-cultural examination of hand-painted book illustrations and typography from the 15th and 16th centuries.

The Figge’s collection of works in the Illumination exhibition includes examples of musical notation for Gregorian chants, a page from a Benedictine Psalter, and several examples of pages from a book of hours, as well as illustrations of Indian battle scenes. The text on these pages includes inscriptions in Latin, Devanagari script, and Arabic. Translations of each page will be included with the label information for each work, as will recordings of the songs indicated in the musical notation.

Unidentified Artist, Illuminated manuscript page from Benedictine Psalter, 435, ink, tempera, gilt on vellum, 4 3/16 x 4 9/16 inches, City of Davenport Art Collection, Friends of Art Acquisition Fund, OP256

Meanwhile, the decorations in the margins of Illumination's featured books include beautifully intricate paintings which illustrate the text written on the page. These illustrations were often created from pigments sourced from semi-precious materials such as lapis lazuli, and were often highlighted with gold leaf.

“In today’s terms, these manuscripts are the Ferrari of the Medieval world,” said Senior Co-Curator Joshua Johnson. “They were crafted by hand and were very expensive to produce since it was before the creation of the printing press.”

Illumination: Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts from the Figge Collection will be on display in the Davenport venue's Lewis Gallery from May 18 through August 11, with regular museum hours 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays through Saturdays (10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursdays) and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Museum admission is $4-10, and more information is available by calling (563)326-7804 and visiting FiggeArtMuseum.org.

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