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Exhibitions | Past

Illuminating the Medieval Hunt
April 18 through August 10, 2008

Image of Livre de la Chasse
Hunting Party Pursuing Wild Boar (detail), Gaston Phoebus, Le Livre de la chasse, in French, France, Paris, ca. 1407, The Morgan Library & Museum; MS M.1044 (fol. 64). Bequest of Clara S. Peck, 1983. Image courtesy of Faksimile Verlag Luzern,

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Illuminating the Medieval Hunt features nearly fifty miniatures from the Morgan's celebrated hunting manuscript by Gaston Phoebus (1331–1391), Le Livre de la chasse (Paris, ca. 1407). Since the manuscript was disbound—for reasons of conservation and the preparation of a facsimile—the exhibition provides a unique opportunity for the public to "walk" through the manuscript, as well as to turn the pages of the facsimile. The miniatures illustrate the four books of the treatise, which deal with gentle and wild animals, the nature and care of dogs, instructions on hunting with dogs, and the use of various snares and crossbows by hunters.

A rare first edition of Le Livre de la chasse (ca. 1507) is also on view, as well as the "Book of St. Albans," the first English book (1486) on hunting. In addition, a dozen manuscripts illustrate how the medieval hunt was used as a metaphor in both sacred and profane texts. To show that the noble hunt was not limited to Europe, the exhibition ends with six examples of Islamic and Indian origin.

Illuminating the Medieval Hunt is made possible by a generous gift from Melvin R. Seiden and by the Janine Luke and Melvin R. Seiden Fund for Exhibitions and Publications.

Faksimile Verlag Luzern is the corporate sponsor.

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.