Before the printing press introduced the notion of mass production to the Renaissance world, the written word was one of spiritual significance and unfathomable mystique. Sacred texts predominated and books were acceptable means of procuring religious thought. As harbinger of the book, the Illuminated Manuscript maintains a well-respected place in literary and artistic history, as well as in the record of human progress and creativity.
Museograph's Illuminated Manuscripts gives rare scholarly attention to these Judeo-Christian, Islamic, and secular masterpieces. From the Byzantine Period to the Renaissance, it outlines the evolution of this textual art form. Religious themes that were common to illuminated texts for over one thousand years became progressively outnumbered as literacy spread beyond the religious community. Books were slowly evolving from status symbols to learning tools. The decorative content of illuminations also advanced through history's course. Virtually without border in the Byzantine Period, manuscripts resonated and simplicity befitting religious ceremonies and houses of worship. By the Romanesque Period, the appearance of the Bestiary indicated that a shift was on the horizon. The Winchester border, with its heavy frame and ornate gold bars, was wild with foliage and whimsical in its combination of human and bestial figures. Illuminated design gone organic!
Illuminated Manuscripts is a sensory treasure of image and word. Subjects within this monograph embody a rich interdisciplinary history and continue to grow alongside man as his understanding of what is beautiful deepens and his ability to express it is actualized.