The Treasury: The Splendor of Liturgical Objects

August 25, 2010—February 24, 2011

Location: Nelson-Atkins Building, Gallery P6

Admission is Free.

Churches and abbeys, which served as centers of monastic life during the Middle Ages (1000–1500), sprang up across Europe, and their decoration extended beyond sculpture and stained glass to interior furnishings.

The bishop or abbot sought to inspire meditation among the parishioners on the spiritual as well as material splendor of the Church through the use of exquisitely wrought and embellished liturgical objects. When not in use, these objects were stored in a sacristy; as a number of objects were collected, they were transferred to a treasury.

The objects on view in P6 include examples made of precious materials such as silver, ivory and silk but also lavishly adorned miniatures in Books of Hours and intimate paintings for small private chapels.  

Image: Giovanni Pietro Birago, Italian (act. 1470–1513).  Initial "S" with the Presentation in the Temple, ca. 1470.  Tempera and gold leaf on vellum, 6 ⅝ x 6 ½ inches (16.8 x 16.5 cm). Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust, 33-1363.

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