Wednesday, November 10, 2010

More Medieval

While I was searching for more DVDs like the Victorian Garden series, I ran across ¨Christina - a Medieval Life¨. And since I have a weakness for all things Medieval, I tuned in and thought it was fascinating. It is an hour long, but I recommend it if you´re a history geek. From Mayavision:

The 14th century is the most conflicted in British history, shot through with famine plague and war. It’s a time of climate change, with floods and rains and failed harvests, of virulent cattle pests like BSE, and above all the Black Death -during which more than half the population of Britain may have died.

Yet hard as life was for the ordinary people, this is also the time when our modern mentalities were shaped- and not by the rulers, but by the common people: with the beginning of the end of serfdom, the growth of individual freedom and the start of a capitalist market economy.

Michael Wood is as enthusiastic and sincere as always. Substitute ¨Banks and mortgages¨ for ¨Lords and tenancies¨, and it´s quite revealing where we´ve ended up.

And, I´ve run across a blog by the Cloisters Museum and Gardens, part of the Metropolitan Museum of NYC. The Curator´s focus is on the gardens, and the representations of plants in the objects they have housed in the museum. I went straight back to the beginning entries and am just about caught up now.

The Cloisters, the branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe, was assembled from architectural elements, both domestic and religious, that date from the twelfth through the fifteenth century. The building and its cloistered gardens—located in Fort Tryon Park in Northern Manhattan—are treasures in themselves, effectively part of the collection housed there. The Cloisters collection comprises approximately three thousand works of art from medieval Europe, dating from about the ninth to the sixteenth century.

Some of the Al Pacino film ¨Looking for Richard¨, which focuses on Shakespeare´s Richard III and is something of a cult hit, was filmed at and around the Cloisters. I saw it when it was released and it looked like it was a fascinating project to film.

I´ve visited a couple of times, but that´s years ago now. They do have the some of the famous unicorn tapestries in their collection. Worth a visit!

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