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Curator’s Perspective: Art and Learning in Medieval Bologna

Presented by Frist Art Museum at ONLINE

Nov 11 2021
Curator’s Perspective: Art and Learning in Medieval Bologna

Presented by Trinita Kennedy, Senior Curator.

Join Trinita Kennedy as she introduces the northern Italian city of Bologna and its significant role in the history of both art and education.

Bologna is home to the oldest university in Europe. Students have been flocking there as pilgrims of learning since at least the early twelfth century. The academic environment contributed to the unique artistic culture of late medieval Bologna. Professors were buried in impressive stone tombs carved with classrooms scenes. Most importantly, teachers and students created a tremendous demand for books, all of which had to be made by hand before the invention of the printing press. This lecture will explore the large and dynamic book industry that developed in medieval Bologna to serve students, involving parchment makers, scribes, illuminators, and booksellers. It will also look inside medieval textbooks to see how information was organized on the page and the ways in which decorations added by illuminators made the labor of learning more delightful for readers.

Image: Hungarian Master (active ca. 1325–40) and workshop. Gregory IX, Decretales (Liber extra) with glossa ordinaria of Bernard of Parma and additional glosses by Giovanni d’Andrea: Frontispiece, Gregory IX Enthroned, ca. 1320–35. Tempera, gold, and ink on parchment, 18 1/2 x 11 3/8 in. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland, 1931, by Henry Walters’ bequest, MS W.158, fol. 1r (detail)

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