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Come and meet the Ancestors
Canterbury Cathedral is preparing to exhibit some of its earliest and most important surviving stained glass.
Canterbury Cathedral's great treasure of medieval stained glass is crowned by a seriess of life-size figures representing the Ancestors of Christ, which date to the late 12th and early 13th centuries. An exhibition, in the Cathedral's Chapter House, entitled The Ancestors will provide a unique opportunity to view these major works of medieval art at close quarters. The exhibition will run from Monday 18 May to Sunday 23 August, 2015.
Designed to be see at great height, they are ususally only visible from a great distnace. After two hugely successful exhibitions in the J Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles and at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the exhibition now gives British and continental audiences the opportunity to 'meet the Ancestors' face-to-face, before they return to the rebuilt Great South Window later this year.
In Canterbruy, twenty-one figures will be on show. The monumental designs executed in vigorous bruch strokes were created by some of Europe's finest and most avant-garde artists and, amazingly, their vibrant colours have not faded in over 800 years.
The series originally numbered eighty-six life-sized seated patriarchs of the Old Testament, largely based on the list of names contained in the Gospel of St Luke (III, 23-28), interpolated with additional names from the Gospel of St Matthew (I, 1-17). It is the largest number of Ancestors of Christ ever produced in any art form. Today forty-three survive, of which twenty-two had to be rescued from crumbling stonework in 2009.
There is very little comparable stained glass of this quality and age in the world. Recent research indicates that amongst the late Romanesque glass there may even be a few survivors that pre-date the great fire of 1174. This would make them by far the oldest painted windows in Britain. Detailed examination has always been hard as such windows are installed at a high level. Its removal has created a unique opportunity to see the dazzling mediecal art displayed at ground level.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a number of Friday evening lectures.
|Mon 18 May - Sun 23 Aug 2015|
Entrance to the exhibition is free but Precinct charges will apply.
TR 151578 51.27878 1.08343
The Cathedral is located in the centre of Canterbury, within walking distance of both Canterbury East and West stations. Canterbury is only 30 minutes drive from Dover (continental ferries) and Folkestone (Eurotunnel), making it an ideal stop-over en route to London. Fast speed trains bring passengers from Canterbury to London within 56 minutes.
: 1 mile from Canterbury East/West station