Browse Exhibits (3 total)

Illustrated Suites, Sequences, and Sets

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Originally exhibited April 26– August 10, 2010
Entry Hall

Introduction

Bridwell Library holds a wide range of illustrations in books and manuscripts created in various locales and time periods. The images in these volumes offer readers both aesthetic pleasure and graphic information which complements textual content.  This exhibition focuses on printed illustrations which were intentionally created as coherent series of images.  Included are suites of engravings, entirely engraved books with image and text included on the same plate, illustrated sequences of woodcuts and engravings in printed books, and sets of prints in publications intended for children. All were published between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries in continental Europe, England, or Mexico. 

Several of the publications are biographies, a genre particularly well-suited for image sequences which highlight episodes in the lives of religious figures.  Subjects here include the life of Jesus and the lives of saints, martyrs, and hermits. Other narrative accounts with illustrated series delineate the Stations of the Cross, the order of the Mass, and the origins of the Virgin of Guadalupe in New Spain.  The variety of publications on display also includes works for children that incorporate sets of illustrations based on episodes in the Bible.  Created as educational tools, these images are an integral part of the work, purposefully included to attract and maintain the interest of youngsters beginning their study of scripture. 

For readers of all ages, these illustrated series provide an opportunity to engage with publications beyond textual reading and to discover the potential of printed works in which the use of images is a primary focus and an essential element.  Beyond the written word and the embellished page, these images educate and edify, simultaneously providing viewers with information and the opportunity for spiritual reflection.

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The Art Collection at Bridwell Library

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The acquisition of display collections at Bridwell Library has sometimes been more serendipitous than intentional. In 1950 when the School of Theology library moved from the north end of the SMU campus to the facility funded by Joseph Sterling Bridwell in the newly-built Perkins School of Theology a number of objects could not be stacked as neatly as the books on shelves. In particular, The A. V. Lane Museum which included the archeological collection gathered by its namesake as well as ethno-cultural artifacts added to it by others, was best housed in permanent vitrines. Used in the Old Testament curriculum, the objects also were popular with undergraduate students and in the larger community as Bridwell became a destination for area school tours.

In the years that followed friends and supporters met a need to enhance study rooms and collections as they offered artifacts, framed drawings, prints, and paintings, sculptures, fine furnishings and decorative arts, and objects for religious use. As wall and collection space filled gift acceptance became increasingly circumspect. (Today’s practice is to add display items only when direct support of the library’s mission or to existing collections can be demonstrated.)

A facility renovation completed in 2022 provided an impetus to display selections from the eclectic collection to an extent not seen in the previous thirty years. The following online component of this display, available upon the scan of a QR code posted near each object, provides context to works throughout the building. Note: some items are located in areas of the building off-view from the public. They are available only by special arrangement.

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The Dance of Death

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Originally exhibited December 16, 2016–May 20, 2017
Entry Hall

Introduction

Reflections on death and its meaning for Christian communities have taken many forms in art and literature. During the Middle Ages a genre called the Dance of Death developed which depicted a personification of death leading a procession of people ranging from kings to paupers, emphasizing the mortality of all persons regardless of social status. The genre included poetry, prose works, and visual art. While individual works sometimes focused exclusively on images or literature, many included both. This exhibition features images popularized in print by Hans Holbein the Younger (1497–1543) and explores the artist’s possible inspirations and his influence on subsequent illustrators.

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