Exhibitions


  • Icon of Christ. Russian 16th Century. Tempera on Panel. Walters Art Museum

  • Eucharistic Dove, France (Limoges), Ca. 1210-30, Enamel on copper, The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore (44.77, acquired by Henry Walters, 1926)

  • Crozier Depicting the Virgin and Child with Two Angels and the Crucifixion, France, ca. 1340-50 (base added ca. 1900), Ivory, The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore (71.232, acquired by Henry Walters, 1923)

  • Chalice, Italy (Siena), Ca. 1375, Gilt copper with enamels on silver, The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore (44.223, acquired by Henry Walters, 1913)

  • Reliquary, France (Limoges), Ca. 1230-50 (legs and crest added ca. 1900), Enamel on copper, The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore (44.247, acquired by Henry Walters, 1922)

  • Statuette of the Virgin and Child, France (Paris), ca. 1350-60, Ivory, The Walters Art
    Museum, Baltimore (71.287, acquired by Henry Walters, 1922)

  • Icon of Saint George Killing the Dragon, Byzantine Empire, 12th century, Steatite, The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore (41.205, acquired by Henry Walters, 1914)

  • Portable Iconostasis (detail), Russia, 16th century, Tempera on wood, The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore (37.625, acquired by Henry Walters, 1930)

  • Miniature with the Apostles Paul and Peter and the Evangelists John, Luke, Matthew and Mark, Byzantine Empire (probably Constantinople), Ca. 1070-1100, Tempera on parchment, The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore (W.530.C, acquired by Henry Walters)

  • Part of an Altarpiece with Three Scenes from the Life of Saint Catherine, Flanders, Ca. 1480, Oil on panel, The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore (37.2486, 37.2487, and 37.2488, gifts of Dr. R. Walter Graham Jr., 1972)

  • Ceiling Tile with a Lion’s Head, Spain (Paterna), ca. 1490-1550, Painted unglazed ceramic, The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore (48.2106.5, museum purchase, 1958)

  • Facade Relief with Two Birds, Italy (Venice), 13th century, Marble, The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore (27.248, acquired by Henry Walters)

  • Statuette of a Siren, Flanders or Northern Germany, ca. 1200 (candleholder added ca. 1900), Cast and chiseled bronze, The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore (54.233, acquired by Henry Walters, 1909

  • Painting of the Virgin and Child, Giovanni Francesco da Rimini, active in Padua (1441-44) and Bologna (1459-70), Italian, ca. 1450, Oil on panel, The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore (37.488, acquired by Henry Walters, ca. 1913)


Realms of Faith

Medieval Art from the Walters Art Museum

March 05–July 13, 2008

Much of the artistic legacy of the Middle Ages in Europe (ca. 500 to 1500 A.D.) was connected to religious practices and traditions.  Yet art museums often present works of medieval art from an aesthetic point of view, neglecting to address the question of their original function in religious rituals.  MOBIA’s exhibition will present a selection of medieval works from the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, one of the largest and finest collections in the United States, interpreting these in the context of their use in Christian liturgical practices and personal devotion.  Because the medieval collection at the Walters represents a wide variety of objects from various time periods and places, the exhibition will highlight selected objects and discuss their use with as much historic specificity as possible.  To this end, primary sources such as texts and medieval images depicting works of art in use will enhance the installation.  The exhibition will also seek to help visitors understand the liturgical and devotional practices, both shared and divergent, of Byzantine and Western medieval Christians.

The exhibition will be divided into four sections.  The first, an introduction, “Faith and Practice in Medieval Europe,” will introduce visitors to the term “medieval” and to the basic elements of Christian religious practices in the Middle Ages in Byzantium and in Western Europe.  A small selection of objects may be used here to initiate visitors to an understanding of themes such as devotion to the saints, the celebration of mass, and the practice of religion at home.  A second section, “Art, Liturgy, and Celebration: The Realm of the Church”, will present liturgical objects such as chalices, crosiers, pyxes, etc. as well as altarpieces and icons.  A comparative presentation of Byzantine and Western church objects will illustrate liturgical the commonalities and differences in art and liturgical practices in those two main medieval subdivisions of Christianity.

The third section, “The Art of Prayer: The Realm of Personal Devotion” will examine objects used for devotion by individuals or small groups in more intimate settings such as the home and/or private or family chapels. The installation will suggest how “public” and “private” devotion was not always strictly divided, i.e. that acts of prayer in front of sometimes took place by individuals or groups in public or private spaces.  The final section, “A Medieval Bestiary: A Section for Families” will present medieval objects featuring animal imagery, many of which could have been made either for churches or for homes.  Stories and legends about animals from the medieval bestiary will help visitors to understand how religious traditions permeated much of medieval life and that our modern conception of a strict separation between “secular” and “sacred” imagery was not a medieval one.


This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Additional support for this program is made by the New York State Council for the Arts. Major support has been provided by the American Bible Society and by the Ahmanson Charitable Community Trust. Support for educational programs has been provided by the Robert W. Johnson IV Charitable Trust. Major support for the symposium Seeing the Medieval: Realms of Faith/ Visions For Today has been provided by The Henry Luce Foundation.

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