Published: January 11, 2011
Beginning January 23, the only remaining set of codices from the Sacristy of the Sistine Chapel will be on display at the Meadows Museum as part of the exhibition “The Lost Manuscripts from the Sistine Chapel: An Epic Journey from Rome to Toledo.” Featuring 40 codices that range in date from the Eleventh to the Eighteenth Century, the collection represents some of the finest illuminations ever discovered and follows the trajectory of an exciting and significant time at the Vatican and Sistine Chapel. The exhibition will be on view through April 23.
The codices were looted from the Vatican by Napoleon’s armies and then rescued by the dynamic archbishop of Toledo, Cardinal Francesco Antonio José de Lorenzana y Buitrón, who gave them to the Biblioteca Capitular de Toledo for safekeeping. For 200 years the codices all but disappeared from history, until the late 1990s when the Italian scholar Dr Elena De Laurentiis saw a photograph of the codices with the Barberini seal and traced their location to the cathedral in Toledo. Since their discovery, scholars have been cataloging and studying the manuscripts, piecing together one of the most valuable collections of liturgical manuscripts in the world.
“Many of the codices are in perfect condition, and they have provided unprecedented insight into one of the most vibrant historical time periods at the Vatican,” said Meadows Museum director Mark Roglán. “This is a very exciting discovery, and allows us to reconstruct one of the most important and valued pieces of papal heritage.”
The opening of “The Lost Manuscripts from the Sistine Chapel” at the Meadows Museum represents the first time that these ancient manuscripts will be on display in the United States. Curated by De Laurentiis and fellow Italian scholar Emilia Anna Talamo, the exhibition will feature a broad range of liturgical writings used by the Catholic church, including benedictionals, blessings, breviaries, epistolaries, evangelistaries, missals and preparations for mass.
The Meadows Museum is at 5900 Bishop Boulevard. For information, 214-768-2516 or www.meadowsmuseumdallas.org .
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