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Home » News » Alum & Morgan Library Curator Wins Paul Clemen Prize

Alum & Morgan Library Curator Wins Paul Clemen Prize

Published August 1, 2016
Excerpts courtesy of Fine Books Magazine.

Joshua O'Driscoll, Asssitant Curator of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts, The Morgan Library & Museum, in Mr. Morgan's Library, Photography by Graham S. Haber, March 2016 (portrait 2)The Morgan Library & Museum announced that Joshua O’Driscoll (Department of Art History BA ’05), assistant curator in the department of Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts, has received the prestigious Paul Clemen Prize.  Given annually, the award promotes the study of art from Germany’s Rhineland area. O’Driscoll’s submission in the form of his 2015 doctoral dissertation on illuminated manuscripts produced in Cologne around the year 1000 is the first English-language study to receive the award. He was honored in a recent ceremony in Cologne, attended by German dignitaries and museum and university officials.

The Paul Clemen Prize was established in 1936 on the occasion of the 70th birthday of Dr. Paul Clemen (1866-1947), a German art historian who dedicated much of his career to inventorying and preserving the monuments of the Rhineland. The award promotes scholarship on Rhenish art, and recognizes young art historians who contribute significantly to its study and preservation.

O’Driscoll’s dissertation, “Image and Inscription in the Painterly Manuscripts from Ottonian Cologne” (Harvard, 2015, supervised by Prof. Jeffrey Hamburger), focuses on richly illuminated manuscripts from tenth and eleventh-century Cologne, Germany. The manuscripts from this period have been known to scholars since the early twentieth century as the so-called “painterly” group. These works are notable for diptych-like pairings of miniatures with inscriptions, each of which is given a full page. Because the inscriptions were written to accompany the facing images, O’Driscoll demonstrates how the Cologne manuscripts offer an important discourse on art and image-making in a period known for its scarcity of written material on art and illustration.

“We are delighted that Joshua has been honored with this prize,” said Colin B. Bailey, director of the Morgan Library & Museum. “To be the first English-language submission to win the award is a tremendous distinction. The Morgan is recognized for having one of the world’s greatest collections of medieval and Renaissance illuminated manuscripts, and for its record of scholarship in this area. Joshua continues this fine tradition.”

Appointed assistant curator of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts at the Morgan in 2015, O’Driscoll graduated magna cum laude with a BS and BA from Florida State University, an MA in History of Art from Williams College, and a PhD in History of Art from Harvard University. His curatorial experience includes the “Pages from the Past” exhibition at the Houghton Library at Harvard; the Handschriftencensus Rheinland-Pfalz at the University of Mainz in Germany; and the “Royal Manuscripts: The Genius of Illumination” show at the British Library in London. He has held research positions at the Bode Museum in Berlin and at the Houghton Library at Harvard.