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Book of the exhibition.
Book of the exhibition.
The very first portrait of king Arthur <i>In</i> Geoffroy de Monmouth<i> Prophetia Merlini. Historia regum Britanniae</i> Mont Saint-Michel XIIth century. [Merlin's prophecy. The History of the Kings of Britain ] by the Welsh writer.
The very first portrait of king Arthur In Geoffroy de Monmouth Prophetia Merlini. Historia regum Britanniae Mont Saint-Michel XIIth century. [Merlin's prophecy. The History of the Kings of Britain ] by the Welsh writer.
<I>Lancelot at the Round Table: the appearing of the Graal</i>. Compilation of Micheau Gonnot. 1470. Centre Jacques d'Armagnac.
Lancelot at the Round Table: the appearing of the Graal. Compilation of Micheau Gonnot. 1470. Centre Jacques d'Armagnac.
<I>Lancelot and Pellés's messenger riding.</i>. Armagnac. Évrard d'Espinques by 1475.
Lancelot and Pellés's messenger riding.. Armagnac. Évrard d'Espinques by 1475.
- Communiqué de presse -
''King Arthur's legend'' A major exhibition at France National Library
The exhibition held at France National Library presents the most beautiful medieval works inspired by the legend. 140 pieces: 80 illuminated medieval manuscripts from its collections and from those of several French and foreign libraries (British Library, royal Library of Belgium), most beautiful medieval artworks, metalwork, ivories.... It questions the history of texts and the historicity of King Arthur, approaches the large Arthurians themes, such as knighthood, courtly love or major characters as Arthur and Merlin.
Thierry Delcourt pour Bibliothèque nationale de France le 29/10/09 16:09

Although King Arthur is a mythical literary figure who appeared in the 7th century, he is presented as a true historical figure by Geoffrey of Monmouth in the early 12th century. Chrétien de Troyes made Arthur the central character in his romances, and the king comes to figure prominently in the Lancelot-Graal. Even in the twentieth century, Arthur has been the subject of many screen adaptations. In short, the legend of King Arthur has never ceased to excite our imagination.

This exhibition is meant to appeal both to scholars and those who are simply interested or curious, presenting Arthur's legend through a looking-glass of some of the most beautiful medieval artworks, including manuscripts, metalwork and ivories.

The exhibition is arranged thematically. Some parts focus on the history of the texts and the historicity of King Arthur's legend. Others are devoted to important leitmotivs: knighthood, courtly love, and major characters, like Arthur and Merlin. (voir le site)

An attempt has also been made to evoke the different art forms that continue to be used to bring the legend to life since the Middle Ages, in literature, painting, opera, cinema, and even video games.

This exhibition is the second in a series devoted to the legend of King Arthur. The first took place in Rennes in 2008-2009, « Le Roi Arthur, une légende en devenir ». The third will take place in Troyes in 2010. (voir le site) . Partnership with Metro, La Chaîne Histoire.

Guided tours

Arrangements for individual tours and group tours may be made at 00 33 (0) 1 53 79 49 49. Price: 3 €.

Educational activities

– For school groups: tours are organised on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 10 am and 11.30 am ;
– tours for primary-school children and students aged 11 to 18 are organised on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 2 pm ;
– tours can be organised in partnership with the Musée de Cluny (Musée national du Moyen Âge);
– workshops explaining how medieval books are made (intended for primary-school children and students aged 11 to 18). More information at: 00 33 (0) 1 53 79 49 49.

– For teachers: guided tours are organised on Wednesdays at 2.30 pm. Educational kits are available on request.

Philippe Imbert, storyteller proposes you a free narrative of his own from Arthur's Geste, 2:30 and 4 pm, on October 24th, 25th, 31st, December 19th, 20th, 26th and 27th, 2009 and January 3rd, 2010.

On the web, virtual visit of the exhibition, digital facsimiles of the most beautiful manuscripts of the Arthurian legend. (voir le site)

Book The Legend of king Arthur
Coedition BnF / Seuil
260 p., 240 ill., 40 €. (voir le site)

Exhibition held from October 20th, 2009 till January 24th, 2010, France national Library, François-Mitterrand site / Grande Gallery
Tuesday to Saturday, 10 am to 7 pm
Sunday, 1 to 7 pm
Entrance fee: 7 €, reduced fee: 5 €
Accessible to visual deficient persons.

Thierry Delcourt, Curator, director of the BnF manuscripts department, director of the exhibition.

France National Library
site François Mitterrand
quai François-Mauriac
75706 Paris Cedex 13
Phone: 33 (0)1 53 79 59 59 (vocal server).

All illustrations from BnF websites.

Document PDF 16485_2.pdf Chroniques. The BnF Magazine n° 50 - 1158 ko - 3 p. In French.. Source : France National Library
Document PDF 16485_3.pdf Arthurian bibliography.. Source : France National Library
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