If Yeats said that ‘Words alone are certain good’ then we may suppose that anything that strives to go beyond them must be doing something better. At a time when money is more and more coming to serve as the universal currency, the one of our language seems to be depreciating in value. Beyond Words has then in timely fashion sought to go some distance in reversing this by reversing time: highlights of some of the most notable manuscripts in the area have been magnificently curated and illuminated for our viewing pleasure:
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.
In addition to focusing on the Middle Ages and Renaissance, Beyond Words also presents an opportunity to examine the history of collecting in Boston. Among the first medieval manuscripts to reach American shores can be found in Boston collections and elsewhere in New England. Famous American art-lovers such as Isabella Stewart Gardner, Charles Sumner, Charles Eliot Norton, Denman Waldo Ross and Bernard Berenson played significant roles in shaping local book collections, as did foreigners such as Sir Sydney Cockerell. To chart these collectors activities is to map an important chapter in the history of American taste and cultural ambition.
Ifformer patrons are in our present time too busied with accumulating monied capital while eschewing the arts, then artists and ancestors alike may feel a little less dismayed in knowing that at least our universities have assumed their mantle. Speaking of which, the exhibition has on display many manuscripts of the Bible.
Learn more at Beyond Words