Dumbarton Oaks hosted a series of events for all ages in conjunction with “Juggling the Middle Ages.”

Juggling the Middle Ages Exhibition Opening

Thursday, October 18, 2019, 5:30 pm

The opening of Juggling the Middle Ages at Dumbarton Oaks was celebrated with a curatorial presentation and special reception, featuring live juggling performances and the opportunity to meet the artist of the exhibit’s iconic stained glass window. Jan Ziolkowski, Arthur Kingsley Porter Professor of Medieval Latin at Harvard University and director of Dumbarton Oaks, began the evening with a lecture and an audience discussion session. Access to the Galleries and a reception on the Music Room Terrace followed.

The text of Jan Ziolkowski’s lecture can be found here.

The Dumbarton Oaks press release can be found here.

Family Day

Saturday, October 27, 2019, 2 – 4 pm

Family Day was a great opportunity for children of all ages to learn about our Juggling the Middle Ages exhibition through hands-on activities, including juggling lessons for kids! Families enjoyed two live juggling performances, arts and crafts tables, and book readings, followed by the chance to view the exhibition. The event was part of the 11th annual Kids Euro Festival.

Christian Kloc teaches children how to spin plates.
Juggling expert Christian Kloc leads young guests in a spinning plate demonstration.

Meet R. O. Blechman

Saturday, November 3, 2019, 2 – 4 pm

The creator of what are now considered by many to be the earliest graphic novels, R. O. Blechman, discussed his first work, The Juggler of Our Lady. This cartoon retelling of the medieval legend was first published in 1953 and later adapted into an award-winning short animated film. Blechman’s innovative style has become iconic, and the American illustrator was the focus of a 2003 MoMA exhibition and inducted into the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame in 2012.

The transcript of this event can be found here, as published in the International Journal of Comic Art (21.1).

Lecture: “The Virgin and the Juggler: Mary East and West”

Thursday, November 8, 2019, 5:30 – 7 pm

Annemarie Weyl Carr, professor of art history emerita at Southern Methodist University, explored the Mary who steps into the story of the Juggler of Notre Dame and the form of the Juggler’s devotion to her to watch how a kind of beneficial tale that emerged in the East became such an evocative emblem of the medieval West.

Read Jan Ziolkowski’s introduction to the talk here.

An interview with Annemarie Weyl Carr, ‘Romancing the Virgin,’ can be found here.

Meet Tomie dePaola

Saturday, November 10, 2019, 2 pm

Award-winning author and illustrator Tomie dePaola offered a reading of his celebrated children’s book The Clown of God, preceded by a Q&A session moderated by Jewell Stoddard, children’s literature expert and retired Director of Children’s Services for Politics and Prose Bookstore. This event will be held in conjunction with a children’s program of Tomie dePaola books at the DC Public Library Georgetown Branch.

Read Jan Ziolkowski’s introduction here.

Jan Ziolkowski reflects on the life and legacy of the late Tomie dePaola on the Open Book Publishers blog.

Evenings at Dumbarton Oaks

Thursday, November 15, 2019, 6 – 8 pm

Visitors were invited to get a jump on the holidays at Evenings at Dumbarton Oaks. Guests explored iconic adaptations such as Christmas carols and stories in the Juggling the Middle Ages exhibition. Visitors were transported to a European Christmas market with holiday-inspired snacks, winter-themed drinks and ales, live juggling demonstrations, and (of course) shopping!

Panel: “Boutet de Monvel’s Joan of Arc and the Beauty of Books in Fin-de-Siècle Paris

Wednesday, December 12, 2019, 2 – 4 pm

An expert panel explored French medievalism at the turn of the twentieth century by examining the particular cases of Boutet de Monvel’s Joan of Arc and book arts, along with the greater phenomenon of medievalism during the Belle Epoque.

For more information about the panel and the speakers, please visit the event page. Audio recordings of the panel can also be found on this page.

Lecture: “Anatole France and Gaston Paris”

Thursday, December 13, 2019, 6 – 7:30 pm

Michel Zink, member and Permanent Secretary of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres (Institut de France), delivered a lecture on fin-de-siècle Parisian culture and French writers Gaston Paris and Anatole France, preceded by a gallery viewing from 5:30 to 6:00 p.m. An expert on medieval French literature, Zink is the author of a number of publications, including Bienvenue au Moyen Âge and Nature et poésie au Moyen Âge.

The text of Jan Ziolkowski’s introduction can be found here.

Meet David and Mark Shannon

Saturday, December 15, 2019, 10:30 – 11:30 am

Hosted by the DC Public Library Georgetown Branch, brothers and author/illustrator team Mark and David Shannon offered a reading and live illustration of their book, The Acrobat and the Angel. This beautifully written and illustrated story delighted young audience members, who were also able to engage with the Shannons and participate in other fun activities after the reading.

Film Screening of “The Young Juggler,” Starring Tony Curtis

Wednesday, January 23, 2019, 6 – 7 pm

“Some Like It Hot” came out in 1959, and “Spartacus” in 1960. At the pinnacle of his career, Tony Curtis starred in a telefilm that he coproduced. Though not on a par with either film just mentioned, this 51-minute television segment offers an unusual take on the juggler story to show off Curtis’s looks and talents. It makes the original character into a lady’s man who when pursued by vengeful cuckolds betrays his best friend. This event was the first screening since it originally aired on March 29, 1960.

Explore the connections between Tony Curtis and the fable of the Juggler of Notre Dame further in this blog post by Jan Ziolkowski.

Lecture: “Mary, a Multivalent Figure and the Mother of All”

Thursday, January 24, 2019, 6 – 7 pm

Ioli Kalavrezou, Dumbarton Oaks Professor of Art History at Harvard University, presented the different dimensions and themes that define Mary and her role as the MΗΤΗΡ ΘΕΟΥ, the Mother of God, in the art and theology of Byzantium. The talk drew attention to the many and diverse qualities of her character and focus on those aspects that gave her the position she held for many centuries in Orthodox Christianity and still holds today.

Read Jan Ziolkowski’s introductory remarks here.

Concert Performance with the Washington National Opera Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program

Sunday, January 27, 2019, 4 – 5:30 pm

This onetime concert by young artists of the Washington National Opera transported us back a century to the golden age of opera. The key figure was Jules Massenet, commercially the most successful composer of the Belle Époque but artistically less well-known than younger contemporaries in France such as Claude Debussy or Gustave Charpentier. Massenet composed Le Jongleur de Notre-Dame, the best-known musical drama version of the medieval story. Flanking arias from this opera were other songs about minstrels and monasteries. The result was a very special performance.

Introductory remarks by Jan Ziolkowski can be found here.

Public Lecture by Professor Jeroen Dewulf.

Thursday, February 7, 2019, 6 – 7:30 pm

Director of the Institute of European Studies and Dutch Studies Program at the University of California, Berkeley, Associate Professor Jeroen Dewulf lectured on clandestine Dutch-language literature during the Second World War. Dewulf’s books cover subjects ranging from the transatlantic slave trade to resistance publications under the Nazis to (post)colonial culture.

This event was presented with the support of the General Delegation of the Government of Flanders to the USA.

The introduction by Jan Ziolkowski can be read here.

Concert: Eya and Niccolo Seligmann

Sunday, February 24, 2019, 2 – 2:30 pm and 3:30 – 4 pm

DC-based women’s trio Eya: Ensemble for Medieval Music teamed up with virtuoso improvisor Niccolo Seligmann for a musical retelling of The Juggler of Our Lady.  Humorous, sumptuous, raucous, and tender, this was a one-of-a kind program featuring plainchant, 13th-century polyphony, and instrumental improvisation

Eya and Niccolo Seligmann gave two engaging and family-friendly performances in the Music Room. Seligmann gave a medieval instrument demonstration after the first performance and the full ensemble answered audience questions after the last performance.