The article below was published in Pinnable’s newsletter in . The exhibition Magical Miniatures ended on 3 June.

Illuminated Manuscripts

Magical Miniatures in Utrecht

The Museum Catharijneconvent in Utrecht presents Magical Miniatures, an exhibition that shows the wonderful world of medieval miniatures. Meticulously detailed floral scrolls, maidens, knights, animals and mythical beasts give us a glimpse of the colourful life of the Middle Ages. It seldom occurs that so many miniatures of such exceptional quality are brought together. Some of the more important ones in the exhibition come from the National Library of the Netherlands, which holds the largest collection of illuminated medieval manuscripts in the country. The exhibition runs until 3 June.

The Book of Hours of Philip of Burgundy
Philip the Good praying, by Jean le Tavernier (c. 1453)

Many medieval objects have lost their original sparkle with the passage of time; miniatures, however, are still as radiant as the day they were painted. The manuscripts on display were made in the Southern Netherlands (roughly equivalent to modern-day Belgium) during the 10th to 16th centuries, and illuminated by miniaturists such as Simon Marmion, Lieven van Lathem, Willem Vrelant and Simon Bening. In the Middle Ages books were among the costliest possessions of churches, monasteries, rulers and wealthy citizens, and they were cherished and preserved with loving care. In addition to biblical scenes and images of saints, these books contain depictions of daily life such as peasants tilling the land and dukes hunting. They also depict important historical events such as battles and gatherings of the Knights of the Order of the Golden Fleece. This exhibition provides a rare chance to see these absolute masterpieces.