The Book of Ruth: Medieval to Modern at The Morgan Library & Museum, February 14 – June 14, 2020
“The Morgan Library & Museum is pleased to present The Book of Ruth: Medieval to Modern. The exhibition celebrates the gift made in 2018 by Joanna S. Rose of The Joanna S. Rose Illuminated Book of Ruth to the Morgan. The accordion-fold vellum manuscript, measuring nine inches tall and an astonishing eighteen feet long, was designed and illuminated by New York artist Barbara Wolff, who worked on the project for two years (2015–17). The Rose Book of Ruth is presented in conversation with twelve manuscripts, drawn from the Morgan’s holdings, that unfold the Christian traditions for illustrating the story of Ruth during the Middle Ages. Through the juxtaposition of the modern manuscript with these ancient works, which date from the twelfth to the fifteenth century and include three leaves from the Morgan’s famed Crusader Bible, the exhibition brings into focus the techniques of medieval illuminators that inspired Wolff, as well as her inventive approach to iconography.” — The Morgan Library & Museum
Tree of Jesse; David Proclaimed King; David Battling Zion; Episodes from the Life of John the Baptist; Nativity of Christ. Leaf from the “Eadwine Psalter” England, Canterbury, Christ Church Priory, ca. 1150 MS M.724v Purchased, 1927 The Morgan Library & Museum. Photography by Janny Chiu, 2018.
Naomi Departing Bethlehem; Her Sons, Mahlon and Chilion; Ruth and Orpah; Marriage of Ruth and Boaz; Obed; Jesse. Single Leaf from a Bible, in Latin France, ca. 1260 MS M.851.1 Gift of the Estate of Belle da Costa Greene, 1951 The Morgan Library & Museum. Photography by Janny Chiu, 2018.
The Family of Naomi and Elimelech Arriving in Moab. Bible historiale, in French Illuminated by the workshop of the Boucicaut Master France, Paris, ca. 1415 MS M.394, fol. 114r Purchased by J. Pierpont Morgan, 1910 The Morgan Library & Museum. Photography by Janny Chiu, 2018.
Boaz Asks Ruth’s Identity; Ruth Gleaning; Ruth Dines with Boaz; Workers Stacking the Crop of Boaz. “Crusader Bible,” added inscriptions in Latin, Persian, and Judeo-Persian France, Paris, ca. 1250 MS M.638, fol. 17v Purchased by J.P. Morgan, 1916 The Morgan Library & Museum. Photography by Janny Chiu, 2018.
Ruth Threshing and Bringing Grain to Naomi; Naomi Counseling Ruth; Workers Threshing Grain; Ruth Lays at the Feet of Boaz. “Crusader Bible,” added inscriptions in Latin, Persian, and Judeo-Persian France, Paris, ca. 1250 MS M.638, fol. 18r Purchased by J.P. Morgan, 1916 The Morgan Library & Museum. Photography by Janny Chiu, 2018.
This exhibition is organized by Roger S. Wieck, the Morgan’s Melvin R. Seiden Curator and Department Head of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscript. Wieck says, “I think visitors will be amazed at the inspiration that artists – both medieval and modern – have found in the suspenseful and touching story told in The Book of Ruth.”