Chazen Museum of Art


Illuminated Manuscripts from Midwestern Collections at the Chazen Museum of Art


Madison, Wisconsin, October 22, 2010—The Chazen Museum of Art will present Hidden Treasures: Illuminated Manuscripts from Midwestern Collections, an exhibition that brings together rarely seen ornate handmade books from university libraries, museums, and private collections in seven states. Illuminated manuscripts were produced in Western Europe during the Middle Ages and early modern period, and the exhibition includes examples of bibles, liturgical manuscripts, devotional books for the laity’s private use, and volumes containing literary, historical, and legal texts. Approximately forty manuscripts and single leaves, dating from the ninth to sixteenth centuries, are being loaned for Hidden Treasures, which is on view December 18, 2010–February 27, 2011.

Before the printing press was invented in the fifteenth century, handmade books were written on parchment and painted with brilliant pigments and gold leaf, and they continued to be produced well after that date. The miniature paintings, called illuminations for the frequent use of shimmering gold leaf, are still breathtakingly vibrant today. Illuminated manuscripts exemplify the convergence of medieval bookmaking, written text, and art.

Related Events
Friday, December 17, 2010, Preview Lecture and Reception
5:30 p.m.: Lecture on the exhibition by curator Maria Saffiotti Dale
6:30–8p.m.: Reception

Thursday, February 17, 2011, 5:30 p.m., Lecture (room L140)
“Folia Fugitiva: The Pursuit of the Illuminated Manuscript Leaf.” Roger S. Wieck, curator of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, The Morgan Library & Museum, traces the history of collecting individual folios sliced from medieval illuminated manuscripts, a phenomenon that encompasses fifteenth-century piety, eighteenth-century looting, the nineteenth-century Gothic Revival, and twenty-first-century eBay.


Due to illness, the artist demonstrations scheduled for January 26–30 have been rescheduled for February 18–20

Artist Demonstrations of Manuscript Illumination
Guest artist Valerie Weilmuenster, a manuscript illuminator from the Chicago area, will demonstrate the time-honored techniques for painting sacred manuscripts including paint mixing, painting decorated letters, and gilding. Supported by the UW–Madison Arts Institute Year of the Arts.

Friday, February 18, 9 am - 1 pm, and 2 - 4:45 pm
Saturday, February 19, 11 am - 2 pm, and 2:30 - 4:45 pm
Sunday, February 20, 11 am - 1:30 pm, and 2 - 4:45 pm

Generous support for this exhibition has been provided by the Chazen Museum of Art Council; Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts; Friends of the UW–Madison Libraries; Office of the Director, UW–Madison General Library System; B.H. Breslauer Foundation; Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission; and the UW–Madison Arts Institute Year of the Arts.

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The Chazen Museum of Art is open Tuesday–Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to galleries and educational events is free. Museum Shop hours are 11 to 4 Tuesday–Sunday. The museum is located on the campus of the University of Wisconsin–Madison. PLEASE NOTE: THE SOUTH (UNIVERSITY AVENUE) ENTRANCE IS CLOSED. Visitors can reach the north entrance from Park Street and the Humanities courtyard, or from Library Mall and the East Campus Mall. The north entrance is accessible to wheelchairs; an elevator is down the corridor to the right. Parking is available at the City of Madison State Street Campus Ramp (entrances on Frances and Lake streets) and under University Square. Metered parking is available in the UW lot 46 lower level. Evening and weekend parking is also available in UW lot 83 under Fluno Center, entrance on Frances Street, and in UW lot 7 under Grainger Hall, entrance on Brooks Street. The Chazen will provide sign language interpreters for associated programs by three-week advance request to Anne Lambert, Curator of Education, weekdays, (608) 263-4421 (voice).

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