Beyond Words: Boston, September 12 – December 10


BEYOND WORDS: ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPTS IN BOSTON COLLECTIONS is the first exhibition to showcase highlights of illuminated manuscripts in the Boston area. An ambitious collaborative project, Beyond Words is notable for the size of its curatorial team, the number of lending institutions, and a multi-venue display. The exhibition presents more than 260 outstanding manuscripts and printed books from nineteen Boston-area collections, dating from the ninth to the seventeenth centuries. The exhibit is supplemented by an extensive catalog, a three-day symposium, and public programming. Explore the website for additional information on Beyond Words.

Manuscripts from Church & Cloister (Houghton Library, Harvard University)
September 12–December 10, 2016

In the Houghton Library’s portion of the exhibit, the emphasis is on the centrality of books to monastic life. Male and female monasticism revolved around religion, but at its heart was a cult of the book: not just the bible, all books.

Manuscripts for Pleasure & Piety (McMullen Museum, Boston College)
September 12–December 11, 2016

At the McMullen Museum, the visitor’s attention shifts to lay readership and the place of books in medieval society. The High Middle Ages witnessed an affirmation of the visual and, with it, empirical experience.

Italian Renaissance Books: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
September 22, 2016–January 16, 2017

The Gardner Museum explores the birth of the modern book in fifteenth-century Italy, which was the genesis of the radical shift from manuscript to print to digital culture that evolved over the last 500 years. Against the backdrop of the present Digital Age and current debates over the relevance of the book, the show invites visitors to contemplate one era of revolution in the time of another.