In the spring of 2019 former Morgan trustee Jayne Wrightsman bequeathed to the museum an exceptional collection of books bound for the highest echelons of eighteenth-century French society. This donation forms the core of the exhibition Bound for Versailles: The Jayne Wrightsman Bookbindings Collection, on view through January 30, 2022.
As if genius is not enough, a lyric poet has got to be in love. Pierre de Ronsard was still serving his literary apprenticeship in 1545 when he met Cassandre Salviati at a ball in the Château de Blois. Around fourteen-years-old at that time, she was the daughter of a Florentine banker who helped to finance the reign of Francis I. She married a local nobleman a year later, but that was not an obstacle to the conventions of courtly love. She was Ronsard’s muse, a source of inspiration like Beatrice was for Dante and Laura for Petrarch.
This post is extracted from the catalogue of the Morgan's exhibition Architecture, Theater, and Fantasy: Bibiena Drawings from the Jules Fisher Collection, a show that celebrates the promised gift of a group of Bibiena drawings. This essay aims to put the new drawings in the context of the Morgan's existing collection, and to discuss the collecting of Bibiena drawings more generally.
The mid-eighteenth century witnessed the flourishing of scientific illustration in Europe. In an intellectual climate that valued curiosity and experimentation, the goals of the artist frequently merged with those of the scientist. Before the invention of photography, artists needed to document botanical specimens quickly before they decayed. These visual records of plants aided in their identification and classification and also functioned as aesthetically pleasing works of art.
In anticipation of the upcoming exhibition Bound for Versailles: The Jayne Wrightsman Bookbindings Collection, on view June 25 through September 26, 2021, our conservators from the Thaw Conservation Center took a close look at techniques used in creating these elaborate works of art.
This is a guest post by Joshua Calhoun, Associate Professor of English and Faculty Affiliate with the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Stone, wood, paper, plants, fabric. These are the textured impressions I find in the memory that, recalled here, become a story about finding stories. One way to tell this story—one that feels all the more urgent after a year of relying almost entirely on digital archives—is to give weight to the materials that shape our memories of archival research.
Figure of Faith is one of the Drawing Department’s more enigmatic works. Rendered in soft black chalk with highlights in opaque white added with a brush, it features a seated woman covered in delicate, classical drapery. Upon closer inspection, you can see that strangely, the figure’s head has been cut out and pasted onto the sheet and that the figure was drawn on a sheet that has been trimmed in the shape of an arch and pasted onto a matching sheet of paper.
The Morgan’s collection of drawings by the members of the Tiepolo family is one of our great strengths, for we hold roughly 200 drawings by Giambattista Tiepolo (1696–1770), 100 by his son Giandomenico (1727–1804), and a few by his younger son Lorenzo (1736–1776).
This is a guest post by Kate McCaffrey, MA, University of Kent, Department of Medieval and Early Modern Studies.
During my recent research for my master’s degree in medieval and early modern studies at the University of Kent, I was lucky enough to work with a hugely understudied printed Book of Hours once owned, and written in, by Henry VIII’s ill-fated second wife, Anne Boleyn.
In 2010 the Morgan presented an exhibition on the cultural history of gardens in Europe and America, Romantic Gardens: Nature, Art, and Landscape Design, curated by Elizabeth Barlow Rogers and others. The catalogue touches briefly on a question still debated by garden historians: what are the origins of the English style of landscape design?