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Getty presents “Play and Pastimes in the Middle Ages,” an exhibition that explores lively images of play in medieval manuscripts. Drawn from the Getty Museum’s collection, the exhibition is on view at the Getty Center through Aug. 6.
“People in the Middle Ages enjoyed a variety of forms of recreation, much as we do today,” said Timothy Potts, Maria Hummer-Tuttle and Robert Tuttle Director of the Getty Museum. “This exhibition invites audiences to look closely at a variety of manuscript illuminations that show how images of play and games provided meaning in the pages of medieval books.”
All cultures and communities engage in various forms of play. In the Middle Ages, games and entertainment created potent imaginative spaces where people could learn skills, experience romance, engage in competition, establish social hierarchies or simply have fun. Manuscripts from the period are rich with images that reveal a love of entertainment and sport, providing tantalizing hints about the history of play and its role in everyday life. The objects in this exhibition, which date from around 1240 to 1570, depict activities ranging from children’s games to the knightly pastimes of courting and jousting.
“Play and Pastimes in the Middle Ages” begins with the question: What was the last game you played? The exhibition will be interactive, allowing audiences to connect with medieval games and pastimes by participating in family-friendly activities throughout the gallery. Prompts will encourage audiences to engage with medieval images that depict such pastimes as dancing, jousting, dressing up, and checkers.
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