News | June 24, 2015

Roger S. Wieck to Head the Morgan Library’s Department of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts

New York, NY, June 23, 2015—The Morgan Library & Museum today announced the appointment of Roger S. Wieck to head one of the institution’s core curatorial areas, its internationally recognized Department of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts. Wieck is a world authority on medieval Books of Hours, and previously served as associate curator and curator in the department, where he has worked since 1989. He replaces William M. Voelkle who has been appointed senior research curator. 

The Morgan also announced that Joshua O’Driscoll will become assistant curator in the department. O’Driscoll holds a PhD in the History of Art from Harvard University and an MA from Williams College. In 2014-15, he presented a series of public lectures at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, based on the institution’s collection of Medieval and Renaissance Art.

Wieck has curated a number of critically acclaimed exhibitions at the Morgan. He recently worked with contemporary illuminator Barbara Wolff on the Morgan’s first-ever show of Hebrew illumination. In 2014, he organized Miracles in Miniature: The Art of the Master of Claude de France, and in the prior four years a trio of popular exhibitions including Illuminating Faith: The Eucharist in Medieval Life and Art (2013), Illuminating Fashion: Dress in the Art of Medieval France and the Netherlands (2011), and Demons and Devotions: The House of Catherine of Cleves (2010). 

Educated at the University of Cincinnati and New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, he previously held curatorial positions at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore and at Harvard’s Houghton Library. He has also teaches at the University of Virginia’s Rare Book School.

“Roger Wieck has served the Morgan admirably in his more than twenty years here and we are delighted to appoint him to lead such an important department,” said Peggy Fogelman, acting director. “His contributions to scholarship in the field of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts are broad, and his many exhibitions at the Morgan have been well received both by critics and the museum-going public. Roger is gifted at engaging modern audiences with the importance, visual impact, and continuing relevance of manuscript illuminations.

We would also like to take this opportunity to welcome Joshua O’Driscoll to the Morgan. He will be a valuable addition to the Morgan’s curatorial team.”

Wieck’s 1997 Morgan exhibition, Medieval Bestseller: The Book of Hours, traveled to the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, TX, the Saint Louis Art Museum, and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. The accompanying publication, Painted Prayers: The Book of Hours in Medieval and Renaissance Art, is a standard in the field and has been reprinted three times. Wieck’s other notable publications include The Prayer Book of Claude de France (2010), The Prayer Book of Anne de Bretagne (1999), and Time Sanctified: The Book of Hours in Medieval Art and Life (1988).

The Morgan’s collection of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts is considered the greatest in the United States and dates to the very beginnings of the institution. Pierpont Morgan, the museum’s founder, acquired his first manuscript in 1901. The Morgan became a public institution in 1924.

Today, the collection totals more than thirteen hundred manuscripts and papyri. It is made up primarily of Western works, with French being the largest single group, followed by Flemish, German, Italian, English, Dutch, and Spanish. There are also important examples of Armenian, Syriac, Coptic, Ethiopian, Arabic, Persian, and Indian manuscripts.

The majority are religious in nature, but the collection also includes works on astronomy and medicine, agriculture, hunting, and warfare. Among the many notable items are the ninth-century bejeweled Lindau Gospels, the tenth-century Beatus, the fifteenth-century Hours of Catherine of Cleves, and the masterful Hours of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, the most famous Italian Renaissance manuscript that some have called the most beautiful ever made.