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THE ART OF ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPTS. Prepared by John Hendrix © 2003, used with permission. St. Gregory with the Scribes Late 9th century Ivory H 20.5 cm, W 12.5 cm. I. In the Beginning: The Lindisfarne Gospels, 698.

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slide1

THE ART

OF

ILLUMINATEDMANUSCRIPTS

Prepared by John Hendrix ©2003,

used with permission

St. Gregory with the Scribes Late 9th centuryIvory H 20.5 cm, W 12.5 cm

slide2

I. In the Beginning:

The Lindisfarne Gospels, 698

Illuminated Carpet Page serving as a division page between Gospels. Named for its Oriental carpet-like appearance it was made with a compass and ruler.

slide3

Title Page from St. John’s Gospel. The work is based on the Vulgate Bible with an Anglo-Saxon translation of the Latin text written between each of the lines.

The art work is based on inwoven lines to erase all blank space while also creating beasts common during the time period.

slide4

Book of Kells, 800

"The Work Not of Men but of Angels…" (Giraldus Cambrensis, c.1150 AD)

Chi Rho Page

The Four Evangelists

Trinity College, Dublin

Trinity College, Dublin

slide5

Elements of an Illuminated Manuscript

Book of Hours for Roman Use (Collins Hours), Nativity, 1430-40, Philadelphia Museum of Art

slide6

II. Preparing the Tools and Canvas

A. The Parchmenter

A parchmenter turns animal skins into leaves or pages made of vellum or parchment.

slide7

B. The Stationer or Bookseller--Part 1

The stationer was the man or woman who owned the shop where an illuminated manuscript or book was ordered.

slide8

Creating the Codex

The first step was to determine the overall size of the book and then to fold and cut the vellum to form the leaves of the codex.

The cut sheets were usually arranged in groups of four or five and folded once to compose a quire or gathering.

A single sheet of paper or vellum folded once forms a folio volume; folded twice the sheet yields a quarto, and three times an octavo volume.

As a result each quire might have either eight or ten leaves, forming sixteen or twenty pages.

A series of gatherings sewn together through the folds in the sheets made up the codex.

slide9

C. The Apothecary

The apothecary was the person who prepared the raw materials and other ingredients used to make pigments or paint from plants, stones and insects.See “Materials of Medieval Illumination”

slide10

D. The Scribe

The job of a scribe was to copy exactly the text of an existing manuscript or an exemplar.

Before copying the text the scribe used an awl and a stylus to prick tiny holes through a stack of vellum that served as guides for ruling.

slide11

Today, prickings are not always visible in a manuscript, for they were normally located along the outer edges of the pages and were trimmed off in binding. (Manuscript on the right shows prickings)

Blank sections were also left for paintings, margins and capital letters. Red ink was also used to copy text and red letters called rubrics used for titles, initial letters, chapter headings, comments, interpretations, and quotations in the body of the text and in the margins.

Nun's Prayer Book: Historiated Initial D with the Ecstasy of Mary Magdalen, c. 1450. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

slide12

Medieval Scripts

The term "script" is used to refer to the handwriting in medieval manuscripts.

There are three major types of scripts with variations caused by the script's ductus or the speed and care with which the letters were formed. The types of scripts are set script, cursive script and current script.

slide13

There are also three major fonts used during the Medieval Period:

Carolingian Minuscule

A fragment from a Missal, Italian, 11th or 12th century. Library of Philadelphia.

Gothic

Book of Hours for Rome Use (Collins Hours). Belgium, c. 1445-1450. Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Bâtarde

Book of the Castle of Work, France, c. 1430-1440. Library of Philadelphia.

slide14

E. The Artist/Illuminator

A true "illuminated" manuscript is one with pages "lighted" with gold.

Leaf from a Book of Hours, Library of Philadelphia.

The artist then painted small pictures, marginalia and capital letters that announced the beginning of a new section or paragraph while illustrating the text.

Historiated initial S with the Holy Spirit, from a missal made for Cardinal Giulio de' Medici. Library of Philadelphia.

slide15

F. The Stationer or Bookseller -- Part 2

The stationer bound the book. He cleaned up the leaves, assembled them in order, and then gathered the pages into a codex or folded book. The gatherings were sewn together and attached to a spine and attached to wood boards covered with leather and often fitted with clasps or ties.

Sewing the quires on a frame.

Trimming the ends of the cords and pegs on the outside of the boards.

Sewn text block with sewing and endband cords extending on either side.

Illustrations from Abigail B. Quandt and William G. Noel, "From Calf to Codex," in Leaves of Gold: Manuscript Illumination from the Philadelphia Collections.

slide16

Library of Philadelphia, MS Widener 3

A rare survival of a fifteenth-century binding. The brown calfskin is stamped with panels of grapevines and animals. The actual paintings in the clasps are about the size of a U.S. nickel. The painting in the top clasp shows the Virgin being entertained by an angel; the bottom shows Veronica and her miraculous veil.

slide17

III. Types of Illuminated Manuscripts

A. Bibles

Religious texts, particularly Bibles, account for a large proportion of manuscript books.

Many of the famous early manuscripts were Gospel books, the Gospel accounts of the life of Christ along with canon tables listing the passages that were the same in each Gospel. Complete Bibles often occupied several volumes.

Bibles intended for public use were often quite large to impress the members of the congregation; smaller volumes were made for personal use, or sometimes for traveling clergy. Smaller Bibles were also being produced for student use.

Initially Bibles were written in Latin, but Bibles written in the vernacular gradually came into use.

slide18

The Widener Thirteenth Century Bible

King David and a Fool

The miniature shows a fool before King David, who is enthroned and surrounded by courtiers. This is the standard illustration for Psalm 52, which begins" "The fool said in his heart: there is no God."

David (died 962 BCE) is said to be an ancestor of Jesus. This page is from a section of the Bible dedicated to the lineage of Jesus.

By the workshop of the Master of the Echevinage de Rouen, France, c. 1465-75, Library of Philadelphia

slide19

Inhabited initial H to ExodusCutting from a Bible, 1150

This inhabited initial was elaborately decorated because it opened the Book of Exodus in what was once a large, splendid monastic Bible made around 1150.

When an entire page with all its miniatures, marginalia, capitals and calligraphy was removed it is referred to as a leaf. A cutting is usually a miniature painting with no calligraphy. In the case of this cutting, the miniature painting is the inhabited initial h.

France, Champagne or Burgundy, c. 1150 Glencairn Museum, Pennsylvania. Cutting: 6-1/8 x 6-1/4 inches

slide20

The Story of Adam and Eve

C. 840

This page from the Moutier-Grandval Bible c.840 depicts the story of Adam and Eve in a series of panels. To produce a codex this large would require the skins of between 200 and 300 sheep. A sheep skin retails for approximately $165, meaning that at today's prices the vellum for a manuscript this size would cost between $32,000 and $50,000.

The British Library

slide21

Historiated Initial I with the

Seven Days of Creation

and the Crucifixion,

c. 1250–60

Extending the entire length of the page, this initial I that begins the Book of Genesis has seven compartments showing the days of Creation.

Northern France, Swarthmore College Libraries, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

slide22

B. The Apocalypse

The British Library

Washington University Libraries

English Apocalypse, c 1260

The Apocalypse or Book of Revelations recounts St. John's visions, including those that tell of the end of the world.

St. John on Patmos with demon stealing his writing instruments, 1450

Demons often show up with malicious grins and engage in devious activities.

slide23

C. Service Books

A range of books made for use during communal church services, containing the various prayers, readings, chants and instructions for the conduct of the Mass.

1. Missals

A missal is a book that contains the texts and music to be used in the Catholic Mass throughout the year.

British Library

slide24

2. Psalters

The psalter was another form of religious text, containing the text of the 150 Psalms, a cycle of calendar pages, used for calculating feast days and commemorating the lives of the saints, and a collection of canticles and creeds. If created for private use they also contained other texts/prayers chosen by person commissioning the volume.

The Burnet Psalter

Prayer, Domine deus omnipotens pater

The Trinity: Father, tiara on head supporting the crucified Son before Him over whose head is a minute dove.

Aberdeen University Library

slide25

Scenes from the Life of King DavidGallican Psalter with Canticles, by Nikolaus Bertschi

Germany, Augsburg, c. 1520

This is an opening page from a Psalter containing events from the life of David, author of most of the 150 psalms. This page begins with Psalm 1 and is illustrated with images and rubrics in the margin. Rubrics are used as titles, chapter headings, or instructions.

The Library Company of Philadelphia

King David playing a musical instrument inside the historiated initial B.

slide26

3. Breviary

The Breviary was a prayer book used by the clergy as the principal service book for the Divine Office, a series of eight services that took place at fixed intervals during the day.

  • Bethune Breviary-Missal
  • Northeastern France, c 1290-1310
  • The Bethune Breviary-Missal contains services for the first half of the ecclesiastical year (winter-spring). The Missal includes two gold bordered illuminations:
  • Crucifixion scene with Mary and John
  • Annunciation scene with standing figures shown here.
slide27

Breviarum Romanum, Venice, 1478 by printer Nicolaus Jenson. 

Printed on vellum, painted by ‘Petrus V’. 

Calendar with pen and ink drawings.

King David Enthroned in a Landscape

Resurrection Scene

King David Praying in the Waters

slide28

4. Book of Hours

The Book of Hours—the main prayer book used in medieval Europe—was divided into eight sections (or "hours") that were meant to be read at specific times of day to help the reader secure salvation for himself and his departed loved ones.

The Collins Hours,

1430-1440

Philadelphia Museum of Art

slide29

Book of Hours for Rome Use, France, c. 1475-80

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Book of Hours for Bourges Use, France, c. 1500

The Free Library of Philadelphia

slide30

Calendar Leaves from the

Hours of Henry VII, c. 1480

Philadelphia Museum of Art

slide31

D. Musical Manuscripts

With the introduction of musical notation, musical manuscripts began to be produced. Unbound ancient manuscripts or choir books which preserve music for those of the highest stature are called antiphoners. Those that preserve music for the masses are called graduals. Musical manuscripts were generally large so a number of people could follow from one book.

Antiphoner for Clement VII - Chant & Papal Crown, 1530

19.25" x 25.75"

The Vatican Library Collection

slide32

Historiated Initial M with Christ and the Apostles

Biblia Pauperum, Germany c. 1435

Diurnal Antiphonary Italy, Milan, early 1500s

Library of Philadelphia

Library of Philadelphia

slide33

E. Beastiary

A Bestiary is a collection of short descriptions, often written in the vernacular about all sorts of animals, real and imaginary, birds and even rocks, accompanied by a moralizing explanation. Although it deals with the natural world it was never meant to be a scientific text and should not be read as such. Some observations may be quite accurate but they are given the same weight as totally fabulous accounts. The Bestiary appeared in its present form in England in the twelfth century, as a compilation of many earlier sources, principally the Physiologus.

slide34

The Creation of the Animals

The Aberdeen Bestiary, 1542

Adam Names the Animals

The Aberdeen Bestiary, 1542

University Library, University of Aberdeen

University Library, University of Aberdeen

slide35

The Hyena

The Aberdeen Bestiary, 1542

The Beaver. The Ibis

The Aberdeen Bestiary, 1542

University Library, University of Aberdeen

University Library, University of Aberdeen

slide36

F. Histories, Chronicles, Ancient Texts, Romances, Literature and Herbals

Translations of a variety of ancient texts, such as those by Aristotle, Plutarch and Virgil were produced in manuscript form as were a variety of different histories and chronicles which described recent as well as past events.

From the twelfth century, textbooks on the topics of theology, law, medicine, arithmetic, astronomy, logic and grammar were more widely available. These were produced in all sizes and to suit a range of budgets.

In the later medieval period increased levels of literacy meant that there was a demand for contemporary literature, often written in the vernacular. The writings of Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio and Chaucer were produced in manuscript form, often with accompanying illuminations.

Herbals were books that dealt with culinary and medicinal properties of plants.

slide37

The Death of King Harold, c. 1280-1300

An Opening from an English Manuscript on Medical and Herbal Lore, late 12th Century.

The British Library

The British Library

slide38

Les regnars traversant les perilleuses voyes des folles fiances du monde by Jean Bouchet, Ghent, c. 1505–10

Fall of Princes by John Lydgate England, c. 1465–75

Rosenbach Museum & Library, Philadelphia

Rosenbach Museum & Library, Philadelphia

slide39

The Author Joins Other Laborers in the Castle of Work, La Voie de Povreté ou de Richesse (Le Livre du Chastel de Labour)by Jacques Bruyant, France, c. 1430-40

St. Augustine's The City of God:The Building and Destruction of Troy, 13th Century

Free Library of Philadelphia

Museum of Philadelphia

slide41

An Indulgence

Beinecke Library, Yale University