Art playlist: “Fantastic and medieval past”

A new Delaware Art Museum exhibit traces themes of medieval fantasy through American illustrator and author Howard Pyle and young adult literature.

Fantastic and medieval past was designed by University of Delaware instructor Emily Shartrand and in this week’s arts playlist, she joins Kelli Steele of Delaware Public Media to talk about the exhibit and how the American concept of fantasy medieval has changed over the last century:

Shartrand developed Fantasy and the Medieval Past while she was a member of the Delaware Art Museum.

And she explains Pyle’s connection to the exhibit.

“Among other things, his main job as an artist was as an illustrator during the golden age of illustration in the late 1900s until the twentieth century,” said Shartrand. “And one of his big projects was – he rewrote his own version of King Arthur Fantasy and he illustrated it.

Shartrand notes that Pyle also wrote his own version of Robin Hood, as well as other stories that bring mythical quests from the Middle Ages to life.

“This exhibit examines some of these works from the collection of (Howard) Pyle in the Delaware Art Museum. And that’s watching them in conversation with contemporary illustrators, who illustrate young adult fantasy books that also respond to that same medieval path. Because the medieval genre has become popular again over the past 10 years or so, ”Shartrand said.

She says Pyle primarily wrote young adult books in the hope that parents and young children could read them together.

The exhibition includes 28 works of art and six books that help visitors dive into the fantastic and diverse medieval realms created by these artists.

The exhibition runs through January 2 at the Delaware Art Museum.

Delaware Public Media’s coverage of the arts is made possible, in part, through support from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to the promotion and support of the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

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