An Album of Medieval Art
‘Where have they come from? Where did you find them?’ These are some of the first questions we hear when people see medieval works of art like those assembled in this catalogue. Art from this period has been collected for at least 200 years, yet there is a perception that if it is not locked away in a monastery it has found its home in a museum long ago. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is the richness and variety of what still lies unclaimed by history that makes this material so interesting.
The canon of what in medieval art is considered excellent was established long ago. Recent decades have witnessed a vigorous re-evaluation of this legacy and some of its keystones have begun to loosen. For example, the pre-eminence of Italian painting over that of Northern Europe is being questioned, and classes of objects once treated as peripheral, like stained glass, are moving back to centre stage. Works of art we could not see or knew nothing about are becoming visible, and it is exciting to reveal items to a wider public in this album.