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Object of Devotion
Object of Devotion: Medieval English Alabaster Sculpture from the Victoria and Albert Museum presents 60 beautifully-carved alabaster panels and free-standing figures that were displayed in the homes, chapels, and churches of both aristocratic and non-aristocratic Christians in the 15th and 16th centuries. Dramatic, and intricately crafted, these pieces are some of the finest examples of the elegant, yet, neglected art form of alabaster sculpture.
Alabaster production during the Middle Ages centered on the making and selling of finely decorated, gilded and colored sculpture to churches, nobles, and owners of private chapels. More common examples, however, were intended to brighten the homes and spiritual lives of people of modest means and are now treasured as the folk art of the ordinary medieval English man and woman. Due to this range of intended audience, this assemblage of English alabasters offers an unrivaled glimpse into the spiritual lives, hopes, fears and religious aspirations of both aristocratic and non-aristocratic society during the Middle Ages. Since alabasters were sold across the Continent in large quantities, the exhibition sheds light on spirituality and culture beyond the English Channel, with English examples having been found in countries from Iceland to Italy, and Poland to Portugal.
A companion exhibition, drawn from the permanent collection of The Dayton Art Institute, will explore the theme of devotion in a variety of contexts and mediums.
This exhibition is organized and circulated by Art Services International, Alexandria, Virginia. The exhibition is supported by a grant from The Samuel H. Kress Foundation.