Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Arts Playlist: 'Fantasy and the Medieval Past'

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

Fantasy and the Medieval Past was conceived by University of Delaware instructor Emily Shartrand.

In this week’s Arts Playlist she joins Delaware Public Media’s Kelli Steele to talk about the exhibit and how America’s concept of medieval fantasy has changed.

Delaware Public Media's Kelli Steele interviews University of Delaware instructor Emily Shartrand about 'Fantasy and the Medieval Past'

Shartrand developed Fantasy and the Medieval Pastwhile she was a Museum fellow at the Delaware Art Museum.

And she explains Pyle’s connection to the exhibition.

“Among other things, his main body of work as an artist was as an illustrator during the golden ages of illustration in the late 1900’s into the Twentieth Century," said Shartrand. "And one of his big projects was - he rewrote his own version of the King Arthur Fantasy and he illustrated it.” 

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

“This exhibition is looking at some of these works from (Howard) Pyle’s collection that are in the Delaware Art Museum. And it is looking at them in conversation with contemporary illustrators, who are illustrating young Adult Fantasy books that are also responding to this same medieval path. Because the medieval kind of became popular again within the past 10 years or so,” Shartrand said.

She says Pyle was essentially writing Young Adult books with the hope that parents and younger kids 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 arts coverage is made possible, in part, by support from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.