Sunday, June 19, 2011

Exhibitions on Medieval Fashion

Two different exhibitions, both dedicated to medieval fashion are open at the same time: one at the West Coast of America, the other one at the East Coast. First to open was the exhibition at the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City. Titled Illuminating Fashion: Dress in the Art of Medieval France and the Netherlands, the exhibition is on view from May 20 through September 4, 2011. Its curator is Roger S. Wieck, Curator of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts at the Morgan Library. The exhibition coincides with the publication of Anne H. van Buren's long-awaited monograph on the subject. The book is "the first comprehensive history of fashion to be based exclusively on firmly dated or datable art. Drawing mainly upon illuminated manuscripts, this book also features panel painting, tapestry, sculpture, and early printed books produced in France and the duchy of Burgundy during the late medieval period – a time of rapid change in dress."

The website of the exhibition provides and online tour of the manuscripts on view. You can read about the exhibition in The Art Newspaper or on the website.

From May 31–August 14, 2011, the exhibition Fashion in the Middles Ages is on view at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. The exhibition was co-curated by Kristen Collins, associate curator of manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum, and Margaret Scott, scholar of medieval fashion and author of the accompanying exhibition publication. You can read more about the exhibition in the press release of the Getty Museum, and you can also download an exhibition checklist (pdf).

The website also reported on the exhibition.

If you can't get to the US this summer, you can also see fashion in medieval manuscripts in Paris. The gallery Les Enluminures also opened an exhibition on fashion in its Paris space in the Louvre des Antiquaires. Approximately 35 works of art are featured in “Dressing Up and Dressing Down in the Middle Ages and Renaissance: Costume in Art,” from May 5 to August 25. Organized by gallery owner Sandra Hindman, the exhibition is accompanied by an online catalogue (pdf). You can get more information on this project from this video. This being a commercial gallery - you can even buy the artworks on display!


  1. Many thanks... I will have a copy of the catalogue posted to me in Australia.

    The exhibition, Illuminating Fashion: Dress in the Art of Medieval France and the Netherlands, looks deceptively simple. After all fashion is something everyone knows about, unlike sculpture or stained glass, for example. But it will be essential to read the van Buren's article, to get past our modern perceptions.

  2. Great article - Gave a really in-depth insight into medieval fashion! - Cheers from