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"Louis IX: King, Saint, Namesake" Exhibition Celebrates City Founding
Philippe de Champaigne, French (born Belgium), 1602-
1674; Vincent Voiture as St. Louis, c.1640-48; oil on
canvas; 26 3/4 x 22 3/8 inches; Saint Louis Art Museum,
Friends Fund 719:1961.
Walker Hancock, American, 1901-1998; Marble Lindbergh Plaque, c.1946; marble; 26 1/2 x 35
1/4 x 1 3/4 inches; Missouri History Museum, St. Louis
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), August 19, 2014 - As part of the 250th anniversary of the founding of the city of St. Louis, the Saint Louis Art Museum presents a free exhibition, Louis IX: King, Saint, Namesake, highlighting both exceptional art from the reign of Louis IX and later works inspired by the celebrated 13th-century monarch.
The exhibition opens Friday, August 29 and runs through November 2, 2014. It will be on view in Galleries 234 and 235.
In conjunction with the exhibition, the museum is celebrating Charles Henry Niehaus' Apotheosis of St. Louis, the famous bronze sculpture of a mounted Louis IX just outside the museum's main doors. It will be included on special tours, and the museum has developed new interpretive materials relating to the sculpture, which before the Gateway Arch served as the most common symbol for the city.
"For more than a century, Saint Louis Art Museum visitors have been welcomed by the city's namesake, in the form of the iconic Apotheosis of St. Louis at the crest of Art Hill," said Museum Director Brent R. Benjamin. "We are delighted to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the city's founding by presenting this important exhibition."
Presented in two galleries, Louis IX: King, Saint, Namesake will focus on the arts created under Louis IX as well as the ongoing interest and devotion to this very popular king turned saint.
The first gallery will be devoted to art produced during the reign of Louis IX(1226-70), a period of exceptional achievement in architecture and painted manuscripts. Carved ivory and metalwork from the late 13th century will be presented along with outstanding examples of decorated manuscripts from this period. The centerpiece of this gallery will be pages from the famed Morgan Library Picture Bible, believed to have been commissioned by Louis IX, himself. Completed around 1250, the Bible is regarded as a stellar example of Gothic manuscript illumination, appropriate for a royal commission.
Visitors also will get to see the materials used in the making of manuscripts, including a display of pigments, touchable samples of the animal-skin parchment used to make medieval books, and a six-minute video showing the various aspects of manuscript construction - from scraping the fur off the skins to preparing the page before scribes executed the text and artists added richly colored illustration.
The second gallery will focus on the life and legacy of Louis, both as king and, later, as saint. The exhibition includes images of Louis from the 17th, 19th, and 20th centuries, along with explanatory material about Louis's life, his popularity as a saint, and his relationship to the city of St. Louis.
Featured in this part of the exhibition will be a 17th-century illustrated book about Louis's most famous achievement (bringing the Crown of Thorns to Paris), a portrait of a 17th-century poet in the guise of St. Louis, and an altarpiece painting by Louise-Marie Mauduit (1784-1862) that Bishop Louis William Valentine DuBourg sent to the city of St. Louis in 1818.
The East Building, designed by Sir David Chipperfield, at the Saint Louis Art Museum, features floor-to-ceiling windows and 23 monumental panels of dark polished concrete, with highlights of Missouri river aggregates. See related story: Saint Louis Art Museum Unveils Contemporary East Building
The Saint Louis Art Museum is one of the leading art museums with more than 100 galleries. The building was designed by famed architect Cass Gilbert as the Palace of Fine Arts for the 1904 World's Fair in Forest Park. Standing atop Art Hill, it is the "crown" jewel" of the 1,370-acre park. The Grand Basin is the lake at the foot of Art Hill and served as the focal point of the 1904 World's Fair.
Crusader King Louis IX in front of the Saint Louis Art Museum
The Museum's collections feature more than 30,000 art treasures from ancient times to the present. Highlights include art of the Renaissance, masterpieces of Impressionism, American European Art, Asian art, Period Rooms, the Egyptian mummy, and world-renowned collections of pre-Columbian and German Expressionist art.
The Museum provided $10 million for improvements to Art Hill and nearby areas including: reconstruction of Fine Arts Drive in the front of the Museum between the front stairway and the statue of St. Louis; the street and the area around the landmark statue is now paved with granite; construction of two curved, tree-lined walkways, or promenades, extending about 250 yards in each direction from the statue of St. Louis to the existing circular parking areas; construction of scenic overlooks near the expanded circular parking areas; landscaping of the two promenades and of the entire area with ornamental trees and decorative lighting; and new parking adjacent to the scenic overlooks.
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 10:00 am-5:00 pm; Friday, 10:00 am-9:00 pm; Closed Monday. For more information, call 314-721-0072. Admission to the Saint Louis Art Museum is free. Admission to featured exhibitions is free on Friday.
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