Tuesday, June 7, 2011

National Museum of the Middle Ages

John and I visited the wonderful Musée National du Moyen Age last week. It's housed in the mansion (1500) of Jacques D'Amboise, the Abbot of the Cluny Monastery in what is now the Latin Quarter of Paris.
The mansion with its abundance of period detail sits upon the ruins of a Gallo-Roman bathhouse (200 AD) and is now surrounded by medieval style gardens.
The interior of the mansion is now a treasure trove of medieval sculpture, painting, tapestries (including the famous Lady with the Unicorn series), stained glass and artefacts.
Here is a detail of The Kiss of Judas in wood and polychrome from Brabant (1500)
and, above, the Christ of Rameaux (late 15th century) from Southern Germany.
In the Gallery of the Kings we find the heads of the kings of Judea (1220) which adorned Notre Dame and  were mistaken as kings of France during the Revolution and decapitated. The heads were found during excavations behind the Opera in 1978
as were the headless figures assembled in the same room.
This little Romanesque carving of Christ in Glory is found in the same room.
We loved one fascinating, darkened room of 12th and 13th century stained glass from sites like the Basilica of St Denis and Sainte-Chapelle.
Here's John's detail of one exquisite panel
and another featuring fish and eels.
 Let's finish our visit with a view of the Gothic ceiling of the mansion's chapel. Visit to step into another age and its beautiful artifacts.

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