illuminated manuscript


illuminated manuscript
Handwritten book decorated with gold or silver, brilliant colours, elaborate designs, or miniature paintings.

"Illumination" originally denoted embellishment of text with gold or silver, which gave the impression that the page had been literally illuminated. In the Middle Ages those who "historiated" (illustrated texts with paintings) were differentiated from those who "illuminated" (embellished the initial capital letters with gold leaf or powder). Today the term denotes the illustration and decoration of early manuscripts in general, whether or not with gold. With the development of printing in Europe in the 15th century, illumination was superseded by printed illustrations.

Illuminated initial "U" for "Uerba" (i.e., "Verba") in ...

By permission of the Dean and Chapter of Winchester; copyright The Warburg Institute, the University of London

* * *

art
  handwritten book that has been decorated with gold or silver, brilliant colours, or elaborate designs or miniature pictures. Though various Islamic societies also practiced this art, Europe had the longest and probably the most highly developed tradition of illuminating manuscripts.

      A brief treatment of illuminated manuscripts follows. For full treatment, see painting, Western: Western Dark Ages and medieval Christendom (painting, Western).

 The term “illumination” originally denoted the embellishment of the text of handwritten books with gold or, more rarely, silver, giving the impression that the page had been literally illuminated. In medieval (Middle Ages) times, when the art was at its height, specialization within scriptoria or workshops called for differentiation between those who “historiated” (i.e., illustrated texts by relevant paintings) and those who “illuminated” (i.e., supplied the decorative work that embellished initial capital letters and often spilled into margins and borders and that almost invariably introduced gold in either leaf or powdered form). The two functions sometimes overlapped, particularly when drolleries and other irrelevancies began to populate initials and borders, and even in medieval times the distinction was often blurred. In modern times the term denotes the illustration and decoration of early manuscripts in general, whether or not with gold.

 In the great era of the illuminated manuscript, the art of the illuminator often played an important role in the development of art. The portability of the manuscript made it a simple means for the transmission of ideas from one region to another, and even from one period to another. On the whole, the development of painting in manuscripts paralleled the development of monumental painting. After the development of printing in Europe in the second half of the 15th century, illumination was superseded by printed illustrations. See also scriptorium.
 

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Illuminated manuscript — In the strictest definition of illuminated manuscript, only manuscripts with gold or silver, like this miniature of Christ in Majesty from the Aberdeen Bestiary (folio 4v), would be considered illuminated. An illuminated manuscript is a… …   Wikipedia

  • Illuminated manuscript —    A manuscript hand written on parchment with the text complemented by miniature painted scenes, decorated initials, and borders. The earliest illuminated manuscripts date from the Early Christian era. Most were created by monastic communities… …   Dictionary of Renaissance art

  • Miniature (illuminated manuscript) — Miniature of the Trojan Horse, from the Vergilius Romanus, a manuscript of Virgil s Aeneid, early 5th century. The word miniature, derived from the Latin minium, red lead, is a picture in an ancient or medieval illuminated manuscript; the simple… …   Wikipedia

  • Armenian illuminated manuscript — Armenian illuminated manuscripts form a separate tradition, related to other forms of Medieval Armenian art, but also to the Byzantine tradition. The earliest surviving examples date from the Golden Age of Armenian art and literature in the 5th… …   Wikipedia

  • Life of Alexander Nevsky (illuminated manuscript) — Life of Alexander Nevsky ( ru. Житие Александра Невского; Zhitiye Aleksandra Nevskogo) is a Russian illuminated manuscript of the late 16th century (1560 1570). It is currently housed in the Saltykov Schedrin Public Library in Saint Petersburg,… …   Wikipedia

  • Illuminated — may refer to:* Illuminated dance floor, a floor with panels which light up with different colours * Illuminated Film Company, a British animation house * Illuminated manuscript, a manuscript in which the text is supplemented by the addition of… …   Wikipedia

  • illuminated — adj. [p. p. of {illuminate}.] 1. rendered luminous by rays of light striking and reflecting; used especially of illumination by artificial light. Syn: lighted. [PJC] 2. Adorned with pictorial or graphical designs, as a book or page with borders,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Manuscript culture — The transition of communication technology: Oral Culture, Manuscript Culture, Print Culture, and Information Age[dubious – discuss] Manuscript culture uses manuscripts to store and disseminate information; in the West, it generally preceded the… …   Wikipedia

  • Manuscript — Christ Pantocrator seated in a capital U in an illuminated manuscript from the BadischeLandesbibliothek, Germany …   Wikipedia

  • ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPTS — The solemn Tisha Be Av prayer. Men are sitting on the floor and women are standing in the women s section, while the rabbi is blowing the shofar. From the Rothschild Miscellany, northern Italy, c. 1470. Collection, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem.… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.