Tuesday February 12, 2013
Tags for: The Caporali Missal: A Masterpiece of Renaissance Illumination
  • Press Release

The Caporali Missal: A Masterpiece of Renaissance Illumination

exterior of the CMA building

Focus exhibition examines a sumptuous and important Renaissance manuscript recently acquired by the Cleveland Museum of Art

For more information, please contact:
Saeko Yamamoto, 216-707-6898, syamamoto@clevelandart.org
Caroline Guscott, 216-707-2261, cguscott@clevelandart.org

CLEVELAND (February 12, 2013) – The Cleveland Museum of Art presents The Caporali Missal: A Masterpiece of Renaissance Illumination, a focus exhibition that examines the Caporali Missal, a stunning Renaissance manuscript recently acquired by the museum. The missal is presented in a unique setting that brings together liturgical objects that place the manuscript in ceremonial, cultural and art historical contexts. Many of these works have never been on view in the United States, including Bartolomeo Caporali’s monumental painted crucifix from the Church of San Michele Arcangelo in Perugia, Italy. Organized by the Cleveland Museum of Art, the exhibition will be on view from February 17 through June 2, 2013.

“The exhibition celebrates an important acquisition by the museum, while introducing new scholarship on this sumptuously illuminated missal and on the two Umbrian artists, Bartolomeo and his brother Giapeco Caporali, responsible for its completion,” said Stephen N. Fliegel, curator of medieval art. “The Caporali Missal is complemented by the unprecedented Italian loans of paintings by Bartolomeo, shown in the U.S. for the first time.”

Acquired by the museum in 2006, the Caporali Missal showcases the work of two artist brothers, Bartolomeo and Giapeco Caporali, who were active in Perugia, Italy during the 15th century. Considered one of the foremost Umbrian panel and fresco painters of his time, the exhibition also explores the influence of Florentine painting on Bartelomeo’s work. Additionally, the exhibition brings together additional panel paintings and manuscripts by both brothers, offering visitors the chance to discover works of art from throughout their careers.

The exhibition is accompanied by a 132-page catalogue, which features exquisite reproductions that bring the illuminated pages to life and additional illustrations of liturgical objects that enhance the religious and aesthetic context of the manuscript. The catalogue was published by the Cleveland Museum of Art and DelMonico Books, an imprint of Prestel Publishing.

Connecting with Caporali, a companion exhibition featuring works of art from local college and university students, will also be on view in the museum’s Education Lobby from April 5 to June 2. Inspired by the themes and objects in The Caporali Missal: A Masterpiece of Renaissance Illumination, the student-created works explore a variety of cultural parallels between the early Renaissance and today, encouraging visitors to make their own connections with the missal.

Support for the exhibition and publication has been made possible in part by Cleveland State University.

Related Programs

The Caporali Missal: A Masterpiece of Renaissance Illumination
Sunday, March 3, 2 p.m.
Stephen Fliegel, Curator of Medieval Art, examines a little-known manuscript missal produced for the Franciscan community of Montone in Italy’s Umbria region in 1469. The subject of a current exhibition, the missal is examined for its impressive decoration by the Caporali brothers as well as the context of its use as the service book for the priest at the altar. Presented in partnership with Cleveland State University. Free.

The Book Arts in World Religions
Wednesday, March 20, 5:30 p.m., at Cleveland State University Student Center Ballroom
This panel discussion places the Caporali Missal in a global context by examining the book arts in a variety of religious traditions including Christianity, Judaism, Islam and the religions of India. Participants include Cleveland State University faculty members Dr. Sucharita Adluri, Dr. Samantha Baskind and Dr. Marian Bleeke, and the Rev. David Novak of Ss. Robert and William Parish, Euclid. Free; reception to follow.

Praying Mantises in Gray Vesture: The Followers of St. Francis between Ideal and Praxis in Late Medieval Italy
Wednesday, April 17, 5:30 p.m., at Cleveland State University in the Student Center Ballroom
The Caporali Missal is a liturgical book commissioned in 1469 and used for the celebration of Mass. As a book facilitating prayer, it tells us about the piety of the Franciscan friars who used it, the patronage that made it possible and the wider struggles for authentic vocational identity within the Order during the late fifteenth century. Father Michael Cusato, one of the leading historians of Franciscan history working in the United States today, places this precious book in its wider religious and historical context in the Late Middle Ages. Free; reception to follow.

Music for the Mass of St. Francis in the Caporali Missal: A Lecture and Performance
Sunday, April 21, 2 p.m.
Dr. David Rothenberg of Case Western Reserve University discusses the liturgical and musical contents of the Caporali Missal, illustrated with performances of musical excerpts from the Mass for the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi by a chamber choir. Presented in partnership with Cleveland State University. Free.

The ‘Wild-Herb Taste’ of Umbrian Painting in the Later Fifteenth Century
Wednesday, May 8, 7 p.m.
In The Central Italian Painters of the Renaissance (1897) Bernard Berenson asked: “What did the Central Italians contribute to the magic of Renaissance art?” adding that “Even Umbrian painting is [now] being studied for its own wild-herb taste, and not merely in its Florentine phases.” Dr. Tom Henry of the University of Kent discusses the particular contribution of the Umbrians to the Italian Renaissance, and will relate this to the Caporali exhibition by referring to works painted for the church of San Francesco in Montone. Presented in partnership with Cleveland State University. Free.

Second Sunday Family Day: Caporali
Sunday, May 12, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Bring your family to the museum to enjoy a wealth of family-friendly experiences to celebrate the Caporali Missal. Activities include art-making, storytelling, scavenger hunts and movement-based gallery talks. Fun for the whole family, and free to all!

Teacher Program:

Science of Manuscripts Workshop
Saturday, April 13, 2013 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
While today most books are mass produced, 15th-century texts such as the Caporali Missal were made by hand. These service books and other manuscripts were lavishly decorated with colors that maintain their ability to dazzle. From the natural pigments used to create the paint to the application of gold and silver leaf, explore the geology behind such artwork. Practice using natural pigments to create paint and your own works of art. Presented in partnership with the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Workshop registration includes parking. Fee: $35 for CMA Teacher Resource Center and CMNH Science Resource Center members, $40 for non-members. To register, call (216) 421-7350.

Contact the Museum's Media Relations Team:
(216) 707-2261