Object of Devotion: Medieval English Alabaster Sculpture From the Victoria and Albert Museum

Opens March 3 at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

Posted: February 22, 2012
Source: Farrell Howe
Phone: (269) 349-7775 ext. 3112
Email: farrellh@kiarts.org

Panel of the Fifth Sign of the Last Judgment

Panel of the Fifth Sign of the Last Judgment, late 15th century, alabaster. Courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Kalamazoo, Michigan - Wednesday, February 22, 2012. The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts is excited to bring an exhibition culled from the world's largest collection of medieval alabaster panels from the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, England. Object of Devotion: Medieval English Alabaster Sculpture from the Victoria and Albert Museum will open on March 3.

This exhibition presents sixty beautifully-carved alabaster panels and free-standing figures that were displayed in the homes, chapels, and churches of both aristocratic and non-aristocratic Christians in the 15th and 16th centuries. Dramatic, and intricately crafted, these pieces are some of the finest examples of the elegant, yet, neglected art form of alabaster sculpture.

Alabaster production during the Middle Ages centered on the making and selling of finely decorated, gilded and colored sculpture to churches, nobles, and owners of private chapels. More common examples, however, were intended to brighten the homes and spiritual lives of people of modest means and are now treasured as the folk art of the ordinary medieval English man and woman. Due to this range of intended audience, this assemblage of English alabasters offers an unrivaled glimpse into the spiritual lives, hopes, fears and religious aspirations of both aristocratic and non-aristocratic society during the Middle Ages. Since alabasters were sold across the Continent in large quantities, the exhibition sheds light on spirituality and culture beyond the English Channel, with English examples having been found in countries from Iceland to Italy, and Poland to Portugal.

The exhibition is organized and circulated by Art Services International, Alexandria, Virginia. It is supported by a grant from The Samuel H. Kress Foundation. His Excellency Sir Nigel Sheinwald, formerly Ambassador of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the United States of America is Honorary Patron of the exhibition. The exhibition is brought to the Kalamazoo community in cooperation with the Medieval Institute, Western Michigan University.

To view of a calendar of events related to this exhibition, please click here.

Object of Devotion is sponsored by: pnc 2010 logo website small