Medieval manuscripts on exhibit at Bucknell’s Samek Art Museum

LEWISBURG — Treasures from the Middle Ages will be on display at Bucknell’s Samek Art Museum, 701 Moore Ave., as it presents “Painted Pages: Illuminated Manuscripts, 13th-18th Cent­uries” organized by the Reading Public Museum in Reading, Pennsylvania. The exhibition incl­udes more than thirty-five works-some with elaborate gold leaf decoration and intricate ornament — from medieval Bibles, Prayer Books, Psalters, Books of Hours, Choir Books, Missals, Breviaries and Lectionaries from the collection of the Reading Public Museum. The exhibition opened on Tuesday and will be on view through Sept. 30.

Highlights at the show include a lavish Bifolio from a Book of Hours with illuminations by Joachinus de Gigantibus de Rotenberg (German, active 1440s – 1490s); a Perugian Leaf from a Dominican Missal from the late fourteenth century; a large Bifolio of a Spanish Choir Book from the fifteenth century; a Hebrew scroll of the “Book of Esther” from the eighteenth century; and a leather-bound Italian “Gradual” containing the chants for the mass penned in the 1720s.

Visitors will also enjoy Hebrew and Persian manuscripts, including a sumptuous seventeenth-century leaf from the Koran and “Shahnameh” (the illustrated Persian “Book of Kings”), in addition to French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Flemish, English and German examples of various types of manuscripts. Nearly all of the sheets came to the Reading Public Museum through Otto Ege, a well-known Cleveland-area bookseller and specialist who was born in Reading.

To complement the exhibition, The Samek Art Museum will be hosting lunch-time chats at 12 p.m. on Aug. 24, Aug. 31, Sept. 7, Sept. 14, and Sept. 21. The chats will have a catered lunch with an informal conversation about various aspects of manuscript production such as calligraphy and marginalia. Additionally, at 6 p.m. on Sept. 18 in The Gallery Theater in the Elaine Langone Center on Bucknell’s Campus, Christine Sciacca, Associate Curator of European Art, 300-1400 CE at The Walters Art Museum, will deliver a lecture about the role of women in the Middle Ages. A reception will follow in the Campus Gallery.

The museum is open Tues-Sun from 12-5 p.m., and public programs are free and open to the public. For more information regarding this exhibition or to request a tour, contact Emily Izer at emily.izer@bucknell.eduor 570-577-3981.