JUNE 1-NOVEMBER 11, 2012

Object of Devotion

“Panel of the Fifth Sign of the Last Judgement,” late 15th century, alabaster, 15 x 9 1/8 inches. Art Services International.

The Brigham Young University Museum of Art is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibition, Object of Devotion, on June 1, 2012.  Featuring sixty alabaster panels and free-standing figures, these objects are drawn from the world’s largest collection of medieval alabasters—the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Dramatic and intricately crafted, these pieces are some of the finest examples of the elegant, yet neglected art form of alabaster sculpture. Organized and circulated by Art Services International, Alexandria, Virginia, the exhibition’s sixty prime examples, including a complete set of panels from an altarpiece, have been carefully selected to represent the works produced by English alabaster sculptors spanning the years from 1380 through the 1400s—the zenith of alabaster production—and continuing until the Reformation.The exhibition begins with “The Art of the Alabastermen,” highlighting objects that exemplify the best work of the alabaster sculptors.

The section entitled “The Martyrs and Miracles: The Lives and Deaths of the Saints” depicts the numerous roles served by Saints in everyday medieval society including protecting the soul, health, and even wealth of believers.  Brightly gilded and polychromed carvings of Biblical episodes reflect the color and drama of medieval religious life and belief.  “The Word Made Flesh: The Life of Christ”  presents scenes from the Annunciation through to the Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension—exploring the changes that occurred through the centuries of alabaster production as well as those in Christian iconography. The exhibition also examines the role of these altarpieces in late medieval devotional practice and public worship, and explores the actual stages involved in the production of these sculptures—from the mining of the stone and its transport to the artists, to the actual carving and coloring of the objects.


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