King Louis IX of France was a faithful Christian monarch who helped civilize the medieval world by banishing trial by ordeal and introducing a new legal system based on the presumption of innocence. He also expanded the Inquisition in France and ordered the burning of 12,000 manuscripts of the Talmud, so he wasn't all peaches and cream. The exhibition Louis IX: King, Saint, Namesake examines the crusader king's role as a patron of the arts during his lifetime, and his posthumous role as an inspirational figure to later artists. Galleries 234 and 235 at the Saint Louis Art Museum in Forest Park (314-721-0072 or www.slam.org) feature such rarities as actual pages from the Morgan Library Picture Bible, one of the finest extant examples of medieval painting. The book is believed to have been commissioned by Louis IX and finished circa 1250. The exhibit also explains the labor-intensive means by which books were made in the Middle Ages, and includes new interpretive material about the Apotheosis of St. Louis, Charles Henry Niehaus' bronze sculpture of the king that sits atop Art Hill. King, Saint, Namesake remains on display through Sunday, November 2, and the museum is open Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is free.

IMAGE CREDIT: Philippe de Champaigne, French (born Belgium), 1602– 1674; Vincent Voiture as St. Louis, c.1640–48; oil on canvas; 26 3/4 x 22 3/8 inches; Saint Louis Art Museum, Friends Fund 719:1961.
Fridays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Tuesdays-Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Starts: Aug. 29. Continues through Nov. 2, 2014

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