Louis IX: King, Saint, Namesake

Today we took a field trip to the St. Louis Art Museum to see two special exhibits. One was related to our current history lessons–Calligraphy in Chinese and Japanese Art. The other was a special, short-term exhibit in celebration of St. Louis’ 250th birthday–Louis IX: King, Saint, Namesake.


Sadly, photography was not allowed in the galleries, but it was a very interesting exhibit. The best part was a video showing how illuminations in manuscripts were done, and then how the manuscripts were bound. Since we had also learned about that in history recently, it was a nice surprise to an already planned trip.

The first of the two galleries focused on art produced during the reign of Louis IX. The most significant item on display was pages from the Morgan Library Picture Bible, which was made using the illumination techniques mentioned in the video. It is thought that King Louis commissioned the making of this Bible personally, and it is a truly magnificent work to behold!

The other gallery focused on the life and legacy of King Louis, and included many paintings of him (or people posing as him). There were also several books on display for visitors, both adults and children, to look through, including a few that we have in our own home library. Our favorite of those available was Marguerite Makes a Book, which is an excellent children’s story about illuminations and book-making in the middle ages.

If you’re curious about Louis IX, or how books were made prior to the printing press, I recommend this exhibit even though it is very small. And since I couldn’t take pictures in the galleries, I’ll leave you with a picture of one of the most famous statues in St. Louis, which also happens to be located just outside the Art Museum: The Apotheosis of St. Louis, a beautiful gift donated to Forest Park by the Louisiana Purchase Exposition Company:


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