The Beast Acheron, 1475, Simon Marmion and David Aubert. Tempera colors, gold leaf, gold paint, and ink. The J. Paul Getty Museum

Art Break: Living through Hell in the Middle Ages and Today


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The Getty Museum’s celebrated manuscript of The Visions of the Knight Tondal tells the story of a wealthy and errant knight, whose soul goes on a journey through hell and paradise with his guardian angel for a guide. In the end, he comes to terms with his own misdeeds and promises to change in ways that will make the rest of his life worthwhile. By looking at this medieval moral tale through the lens of recent events that have shaken our world, Kenneth Turan, former film critic of the LA Times and NPR’s Morning Edition, and manuscripts curator Elizabeth Morrison delve into how visual culture—whether manuscript or cinema—helps us process our world.

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