The other exhibition "Creating the Modern Stage: Designs for Theater and Opera" looks at the influence of Swiss designer Adolphe Appia (1862-1928) and his British follower Edward Gordon Craig (1972-1966) on modernizing stage design. Instead of illusionism, they opted for atmospheric forms and colors that evoked the emotive force of the drama. The second section of the show looks at how Central Europe, in particularly the Viennese Secession, applies their ideas, and the third section highlights the Russians. The fourth and biggest section focuses on the Americans. I like this section best, especially the drawings that combine more realistic forms with a heightened poetry. They have greater human warmth than the more purely abstract approach of the Europeans. The designer Robert Edmond Jones (1887-1954) embodies the more eclectic and amalgamated approach of the Americans, putting stage design at the service of the director's vision.
I am not a big fan of illuminated manuscripts, but "Pages of Gold" has some wonderfully bold and beautiful single leaves by the Italians. In one, a prayer for the Eucharist, the initial is decorated with a painting of the last supper. Unlike the other disciples, Judas is haloed in black, edged with scorpions. The scorpions are apparently an allusion to Augustine's idea about the minds of plotters. They remind me of Macbeth's "O full of scorpions is my mind."