Come and enter the wonderful world of medieval miniatures, a magical universe full of color, and teeming with imaginary beings, small animals, figures and flowers. The meticulously detailed floral scrolls, fair maidens, knights, monkeys, birds, mythical beasts, butterflies and rabbits give us a glimpse into the colorful life of the Middle Ages.
It is unique that so many miniatures of this exceptional quality have been brought together. Take this opportunity to take a close look at them. Zoom in on the superb details, leaf through the books for yourself and step into the world of the Middle Ages.
In minute detail
The manuscripts on display were made in the southern Netherlands (roughly equivalent to modern-day Belgium) in the period spanning the tenth to the sixteenth centuries. In addition to biblical scenes and images of saints, medieval books contain depictions of daily life. They show peasants tilling the land and dukes out hunting, but also important historical events such as battles, and gatherings of the knights of the Order of the Golden Fleece.
Make your visit to the exhibition a sensory experience. Enjoy music, savour the smells of the Middle Ages, and discover how it feels to make a miniature yourself. Anyone wanting to delve deeper into the subject will find extra theme booklets that will guide visitors past the superb details and challenge them to use their eyes better.
National Library of the Netherlands
Magical miniatures has been organised jointly with KB, the National Library of the Netherlands, which in addition to its many other treasures has the largest collection of illuminated medieval manuscripts in the country. An important part of it is now on display in the exhibition. In this way everyone will be given the chance to get to know a unique selection from the Dutch national library’s holdings.
Colors of the Middle Ages
Color is the keynote of this exhibition. Many medieval objects have lost their original sparkle in the course of time. Miniatures, though, are as radiant as the day they were painted. Immerse yourself in the enchantment of the colorful scenes that have lost nothing of their intensity after all those centuries.
The exhibition is an exceptional chance to admire these miniatures and to make a detailed study of absolute masterpieces by Flemish miniaturists like Simon Marmion, Lieven van Lathem, Willem Vrelant and Simon Bening.
In the Middle Ages books were among the costliest possessions of churches, monasteries, rulers and private individuals. They were cherished and preserved with loving care. Manuscripts belonging to religious and prestigious patrons like the Duke of Burgundy, Engelbert of Nassau, Philip of Cleves, Lord of Ravestein, sketch a picture of the wealth in those days.