Chestnut Hill, MA
Beyond Words: Illuminated Manuscripts in Boston Collections is the inaugural exhibition at the McMullen Museum of Art’s new home. Beyond Words is a three-venue collaborative exhibition, held jointly at Harvard University’s Houghton Library (Manuscripts for Church & Cloister) and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Italian Renaissance Books). Featuring illuminated manuscripts from nineteen Boston-area institutions, Beyond Words provides a sweeping overview of the history of the book in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, as well as a guide to its production, illumination, functions, and readership. With over 150 manuscripts on display, Manuscripts for Pleasure & Piety at the McMullen Museum focuses on lay readership and the place of books in medieval society. The High Middle Ages witnessed an affirmation of the visual and, with it, empirical experience. There was an explosion of illumination. Various types of images, whether in prayer or professional books, attest to the newfound importance of visual demonstration in matters of faith and science alike.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.