Christian Art and Iconography of the 13th–14th Century
High Gothic: Christian Art and Iconography of the 13th–14th Century presents an unprecedented display of sculptures, stained glass, diptychs, textiles, caskets and crosses from the McCarthy Collection. These treasured objects exemplify different physical scales, such as monumental architectural stone sculpture and portable depictions of saints, which were originally used in the expression of Christian devotion in Western Europe and here—
seen as a group of objects originating from different countries—exemplify the richness of Gothic artforms in both private and public spaces.
The Gothic period saw an increased emphasis on the power of
the image, where vision became an active force for activating emotion and inspiring contemplation. This crucial era followed
the tumultuous Middle Ages and witnessed newly acquired wealth that supported the establishment of religious and learned institutions— such as churches, cloisters and universities—many
of which are still significant institutions today. Gothic art and architecture are celebrated for breaking new ground; the skilled engineering and fine sculptural techniques were perfected to illustrate the religious imagery of the Christian church to a captivated local community. Many members of this broader community were illiterate and relied on the Gothic artforms to relay Christian narratives prior to the printing of the Bible and
the widespread dissemination of Christian text and image in the fifteenth century.
Our exhibition presents highly sophisticated representations of Christian narratives, such as the Life of Christ and a broad spectrum of workshops and styles from across Western Europe
that date between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Talent-ed craftsmen worked in stone and wood, constructing many of the best-known European Churches that were decorated exuberantly with sculptures and stained-glass windows. Religious services related to the depicted imagery incorporated elaborate liturgical dress and crosses that were used during formal festivities and processions. Other, often smaller and immensely intricate objects such as ivory diptychs and illuminated manuscripts were more personal items used for private devotion. These diverse and precious artforms illustrate the influence and continued practice
of Christian thought and devotion, and were derived from various physical contexts that are still bound to a particular church or cloister. These treasures are highly significant for their local style and the celebrated skill of individual masters or workshops; for the indigenous qualities and attributes specific to regions that have been rarely exhibited outside of Europe.
This monumental project would not have been possible without the kind support of the McCarthy Collection, the University of Hong Kong Museum Society and the University of Hong Kong Endowment Funds for Music and Fine Arts, to whom we are greatly indebted. In addition, we send heartfelt thanks to Annie Blanc, Miguel Ayres de Campos, Sam Fogg, Peter Kidd, Chuck Little and Tosca Ruggieri for their texts, images and indispensable assistance with this long anticipated international exhibition.
哥德時期間，圖像的力量愈受重視，視覺成為觸動情緒及引起思考主要感官。 這一關鍵時期銜接著混亂的中世紀，見證着新獲得的財富如何支持宗教和學術機構的成立和發展——如教堂、迴廊、 大學——當中眾多至今仍是非常重要的機構。哥德藝術及建築因其創新而為人津津樂道：對於本地為宗教着迷的社群而言，高超的工程及精細的雕塑正是展現基督宗教教會的宗教圖像的最佳手法。在十五世紀大量印刷聖經及基督宗教文本、圖像廣泛傳播前，許多社區成員均是文盲，非常依賴哥德藝術模式以連繫基督宗教敘事。
本展覽展示了複雜細緻的基督宗教陳述例子，如基督的一生，以及十三至十四世紀期間跨越西歐的不同工作坊之風格。才華橫溢的工匠們以木石作原料， 建構了許多以雕塑及玻璃花窗裝飾華美的知名歐洲教堂。與所描繪的宗教圖像相關的禮拜中常包括精緻繁複的祭袍及十字架，而這些器物在重要節日之慶典及遊行中尤其可見。此外，小而精密的物品如雙聯象牙板及泥金手抄本為更加私密的物品，專為私人崇拜使用。這些多樣而珍貴的藝術形式展示了基督宗教思想及虔誠信仰的影響力及其長遠習俗，即使脫離了其原產地也仍和個別教堂或迴廊緊密關聯。這些精品富含當地 風格、為人稱道的個別匠人或工作坊之技術。這些歐洲本土的以及特定為宗教所製的特質在歐洲以外甚少得見。
這一重大計劃全靠麥卡錫蒐藏、香港大學博物館學會以及香港大學音樂及藝術發展基金鼎力玉成，我們深表感激。我們亦誠意感謝 Annie Blanc, Miguel Ayres de Campos, Sam Fogg, Chuck Little 與 Tosca Ruggieri 為這場期待已久的國際展覽提供文本、 圖像及必不可少的支持。