Monday, June 9, 2014

MARKS OF GENIUS and Tea at the MORGAN (c) Polly Guerin

"How warmly we respond whenever we receive letters from friends or scholars written in their own hands! wrote Erasmus. "We feel as if we were listening to them or seeing them face to face." (I couldn't agree more---no truer words could have been written or spoken). Handwriting is prized because it contains the character of an individual, what Erasmus might have called his or her genius. The more exceptional the person or the work, the more prized the manuscript. Manuscripts can embody the character of a person who drafts a work or edits a speech.
   MARKS OF GENIUS: Treasures from the Bodleian Library, on view at the Morgan Library & Museum through September 14, 2014, celebrates more than two thousand years of the creative genius of authors, composers, artists, scientists and philosophers preserved in the Library's rich holdings.
Image: William Shakespeare (1564-1618) Comedies, Histories & Tragedies (The First Folio London: Printed by Isaac, Jaggard and Edward Blount, 1623.
 If you appreciate historical treasures as I do this exhibition is a rare opportunity to see works that include items from western and eastern culture and range from a papyrus fragment of a seventh-century B.C. Sappho poem, (Imagine that!) to a copy of the Magna Carta dating to 1217 to Shakespeare's First Folio to key works by novelist Jane Austen. Pictured right: Jane Austen (1775-1817) Pride and Prejudice, Published London: T. Egerton, 1813.
A TOUCH OF GENIUS Genius was not confined to individuals: place and even nations had their guiding spirits, in the form or genius of place. Works in this section include Handel's conductor's score for Messiah used at the first performance and Mary Shelley's manuscript for Frankenstein, with Percy Bysshe Shelley's corrections.Other objects gained authority because of their association with a historically important person. Case in point: the manuscript of the fourteen-year-old Elizabeth 1 translated text into English and dedicated the document to her step-mother, Katherine Parr  Genius has its roots in the Latin word genius derived from gignere "to beget," and has the literal meaning "that which is born," and we know that there are quite a number of geniuses today who will leave their mark for generations to come.  There are several interesting sections, The Patron of Genius and On the Shoulders of Giants.
The one that intrigues me most was The Genius of Printing:Few inventions have so revolutionised the spread of knowledge, literacy, and communications as Johann Gutenberg's creation of a system of movable type in Germany around 1450-1455. Visually stunning works, such as Albrecht Durer's Apocalypse, Published: Nuremberg: Hieronymus Holtzel, 1511, which illustrates the relationship that some authors and artists had with the publication and distribution of their own work.
   Public Programs include a Gallery Talk, Friday, July 11, at 6:30 pm and Tours June 14 and September 13 at 11am, both free with museum admission. Reservations are recommended.
LUNCH or AFTERNOON TEA at the CAFE is one of the true joys of a visit to the Morgan. The Cafe's new look thematically connects to the Morgan's notable architecture and its menu links patrons to the
Gilded Age and the Museum's exhibition programs. Most certainly relax in the comfort of the new walnut chairs and stylish square tables.  On Sunday's there is a festive jazz brunch, and on Fridays relax over tapas and libations and enjoy a cocktail inspired by literature. The newly designed menu cards highlight the names of artists, writers, historical figures, and composers whose works are found in the Morgan's renowned collections. Please made a reservation.
Ta Ta Darlings!!! PollyTalk is wondering just how many geniuses she has met? Fan mail welcome at Polly's BLOGS on fashion, remarkable men, music and art, poetry and New York's hidden treasures can be found on the left hand link wwwpollytalkcom

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