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© State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

5 June
— 9 January 2022
Tsars and Knights
The Romanovs' love affair with the Middle ages
Czars and knights, ladies, courtly love and tournaments. And a splendid medieval art collection. The perfect ingredients of this unique exhibition, from the Hermitage collection. We bring more than 250 objects to the Netherlands. Experience the Middle Ages through the eyes of the Russian Tsars! On this page you can find stories from this exhibition and images from the extraordinary collection.
Story
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Ilja Repin, Portrait of tsar Nicholas II, 1895, oil on canvas © State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg
Trailer - Tsars and Knights
Background
Courtly love and Roman de la Rose: a medieval bestseller

Courtly love and Roman de la Rose: a medieval bestseller

One of the most famous medieval literary works is the Roman de la Rose (‘Romance of the Rose’), a French narrative poem on the subject of love. Composed in the thirteenth century, it retained its popularity through into the sixteenth century and even today it enjoys worldwide renown as the most iconic story of courtly love.

The stirring love story appeared in multiple languages. A total number of circa 330 original manuscripts now survive worldwide. The exhibition will include one of the most beautiful and richly illuminated. The romance was composed in the course of the thirteenth century by two different authors, Guillaume de Lorris and – after his death – Jean de Meung. This explains the diversity of styles within it, ranging from the highly conventionalised style of courtly love literature, which focuses on a spiritually elevating devotion to an aristocratic lady, to the bawdier and erotically suggestive literature of medieval townspeople.

Both authors deal with various aspects of love and do so in the form of allegory, with abstractions like love, resistance, shame, jealousy and fear appearing as personages who assist or obstruct the main character from reaching his goal: to pick the Rose.

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Manuscript of Roman de la Rose (Guillaume de Lorris, Jean de Meung, 13th century). France, scribe unknown, late 15th century.
© State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg
Plan your visit
Café-restaurant
Concerts, films & lectures
Suits of armor!
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Photo Lara Scot
Plan your visit
Museum Shop

On 26 and 27 november, the café-restauarant is closed for a congress.

In the pop-up café in the church hall you can enjoy coffee, tea, etc.