Illuminated Manuscripts- This was an oral report describing the significance of the illuminated manuscripts.

Essay by heimancCollege, Undergraduate April 2004

download word file, 2 pages 3.0 1 reviews

Downloaded 34 times

The word illuminated manuscripts means "written and decorated or embellished works done by hand." These manuscripts were beautifully decorated, they could be as simple as just an enlarged capital letter at the beginning of a chapter or section or they could use small compositions or designs for the text called miniatures. Usually, the text of the manuscripts was written first and would leave open spaces reserved for the illuminated miniatures and initials. As you can see, this page from the Winchester Bible, the ending of Jeremiah and the beginning of Baruch has two large illuminated initials. Also on the page are two miniatures, the one on the left showing Jeremiah with a scroll, praying to God and the one on the right, showing a prophet reading from a manuscript before King Jechonias and all the people in the city of Babylon. Gold and silver was often used as part of the decoration, making these manuscripts valuable.

As you can see, this Gospel book was decorated with gold. People would actually steal these manuscripts and sell the gold and silver. In the photo, the upper and lower margins are inscriptions recording how the book was ransomed for gold from a pagan in the 9th century.

In the history of art, illuminated manuscripts are important for two main reasons. First, they are source material for the history of design and ornament for more than two thousand years and as the largest single category of paintings during the middle ages. They provide works of pictorial art close to its original condition, unaffected by physical change. And finally, as documents in the history of ideas, illuminated manuscripts illustrate, whether in painting or drawing how the humans' knowledge has evolved, reflecting in their changing forms and decoration of the movements of thought passed onto generations...