Houston’s own Museum of Fine Art has just acquired three significant additions to its Medieval art collection. The new additions will add to the museum’s growing holdings of pre-modern art from around the world, allowing the museum to tell the story of human civilization and expression like no other museum can. The new acquisitions are available for viewing in the Museum’s European Art Galleries in the Audrey Jones Beck Building.
The Museum of Fine Art Houston’s new acquisitions include several rare pieces unlike any other in the world: a rare 14th-century Hebrew Codex from the German Rhineland; a silver-gilt and enamel Spanish processional cross, circa 1400; and a 1516 design prototype for the Rouen cathedral tower in France. The Hebrew Codex, known as The Montefiore Mainz Mahzor, is a 299-page festival prayer book used during the Jewish High Holidays during the early 1300s. The Spanish processional cross is a rare surviving example of medieval Spanish goldsmithing and depicts the Virgin Mary and crucified Christ. The Rouen cathedral tower design is an original draft created under the direction of Roulland le Roux, the French architect who designed the cathedral between 1509 and 1527.
MFAH director Gary Tinterow says these new acquisitions will further the museum’s ability to depict the entire history of recorded human art. “These three remarkable objects, in tandem with our significant and growing holdings of art from Asia and the Islamic worlds, will enhance the Museum’s ability to tell the story of pre-modern art and culture across cultures and continents,” Tinterow says. “I am delighted to announce these exceptional additions to the collections, from among the hundreds we acquired during the last fiscal year.”
The new acquisitions were funded through the MFAH’s endowments and will displayed alongside other recent acquisitions which have not yet been put on view. Those include a late 15th-century Flemish tapestry depicting Hercules slaying Laomedon and a reliquary monstrance from the Guelph Treasure, a set of objects once held by the Brunswick Cathedral which were dispersed into private collections in the early 20th century.