|The Boxwood Rosary|
Small in scale, yet teaming with life, miniature boxwood carvings have been a source of wonder since their creation in the Netherlands in the 16th century. We are at once amazed and stunned by the miracles of the Bible that unfold on a tiny stage, and the artists who created these treasures, surely for Kings and only the wealthy could afford to own. These intricately carved objects require intense scrutiny. Some measure a mere two inches (five centimeters) in diameter and hold stories and legends in the intriguing depth and articulation of their creation. Image Left: Rosary of Floris van Egmond and Margaretha van Glymes, Netherlands 1500-1539. (c) Musee du Louvre, Department des Objects d'art, Paris. Photo: Craig Boyko/Ian Lefebvre.
Take a peak at another boxwood rosary made for King Henry VIII of England and his first wife, Katherine of Aragon, before his notorious efforts to dissolve the marriage and his break from the Catholic church. From the Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth, Trustees of Chatsworth Settlement complex bears the Royal Arms of England as well as the tiny letters "He8" and "Ka" abbrevations for King Henry the VIII and his first wife, who he married in 1509.
TRANSFORMING BOXWOOD: The artists transformed boxwood into something utterly new, tiny, intricate carvings, the likes of which had never been seen or imagined before. These creative geniuses took a material understood today merely as an ornamental plant and exploited its sculptural potential. In their hands entire worlds emerged from dense and fine-grained wood. The ingenious techniques of the artists who created these precious panoramas have defied comprehension for centuries. Now, through the joint efforts of the conservators at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto and the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, the carvers' secrets have at last been revealed.
|A closeup articulation of a Battle Scene|
|Prayer Bead Adoration of the Magi|
BIBLE IN MINIATURE: In a miniature altarpiece with the Adoration of the Magi, Netherlands, early 16th century, the entourage of the Wise Men pay homage of Jesus including camels and an elephant. The names of these magi are spelled out beneath: Casper, Melchior, and Balthasar Images of lions had long served as supports for altarpieces and reliquaries. Here they give a sense of ferociousness or even vigilance, rather they appear well fed and sleep. Image Left: Prayer Bead with the Adoration of the Magi and the Crucifixion Netherlandish, early 16th century. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan 1917. Photo: Peter Zeray.
Patience is required to fully appreciate these incredible treasures. As the visitor gently lean over window cases they observe remarkable Biblical stories in boxwood carvings that tell intricate stories of saints and sinners. The exhibition is accompanied by a visitor's guide published by the Art Gallery of Ontario and a catalogue published by the Rijksmuseum. Both books are available in The Met Store.
Ta Ta Darlings!!! It's a challenging exhibition, but one that will leave you stunned by its
diminutive beauty and in awe by the skilled workmanship of the carvers. Fan mail welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Pollys Blogs at www.pollytalk.com.