a.k.a. “Europe AD 1050-1500 (Room 40)”
Stretching from around the eleventh century to the period of Renaissance and Reformation in the sixteenth century, the late Medieval period (also known as the late Middle Ages) was a time of notable human achievement in Western Europe and the Byzantine world of Eastern Europe. This included the formation of new nations, expansion of trade, creation of magnificent churches and new developments in philosophy and theology.
The forthcoming gallery, due to open in 2009, will include examples of Byzantine art, Romanesque and Gothic metalwork and ivory, as well as coinage, jewellery, arms and armour, leather work, tiles, scientific instruments and prints.
From Stan Parchin writing at suite101:
Developments at the British Museum in Spring and Fall 2009 include the opening of its new Medieval Gallery and the arrival of the special exhibition Moctezuma.
The museum’s new Medieval Gallery, devoted to the material culture of the European Middle Ages from 1050 to 1550 A.D., opens in March 2009. Among the collection’s secular treasures displayed are its wooden citole (ca. 1280-1330 A.D.), the earliest surviving medieval guitar; the Royal Gold Cup (14th Century (14th Century A.D.); and the Lewis Chessmen (1150-1200 A.D.), playing pieces carved from walrus ivory and whales’ teeth. Attention is paid to sacred art through devotional objects of the age. And works from the Byzantine Empire describe its commercial, intellectual and artistic importance to the history of medieval Europe.
Moctezuma (September 24, 2009-January 24, 2010), a loan exhibition of iconic works (many from the British Museum), explores the history, culture, religion and art of the Aztec Empire and the life of its last elected ruler, Moctezuma II (r. 1502-1521). Recently discovered artifacts from Mexico are included in this presentation.
The Reading Room installation examines Moctezuma’s consolidation of political power from Mexico’s Pacific Ocean shores to its eastern Gulf until 1521, when the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors, sailing for the Kingdom of Castile under the direction of colonizer Hernán Cortés (1485-1547), hastened the collapse of the Aztec Empire through devastating confrontation.