The Pulitzer Arts Foundation presents The Nature of Things: Medieval Art and Ecology, 1100-1550, the first exhibition to explore the impact of artmaking on the environment in the second half of the Middle Ages.
The Nature of Things features almost 50 sculptures, textiles and illuminated books made between 1100 and 1550 CE, in a range of materials, from wood to stone and cloth to metal. The exhibition considers the vast array of natural resources needed to produce the artworks that decorated churches and households across Europe during the Middle Ages.
Whether decorative or functional, sacred or secular, the works on view convey the diversity of medieval engagements with the natural world. Some represent responses to moments of scarcity, abundance or ecological change; others represent the rich inspiration that artists and patrons drew from plants and animals; and still others reveal attitudes of care and reverence.
The Nature of Things offers new ways of thinking about the relationships between people, art and environments, prompting us to recognize how the industries that artists relied on – forestry, quarrying, mining and farming – temporarily and permanently affected landscapes throughout Europe, Africa and Asia.