Illuminated Manuscripts Essay

663 words - 3 pages

Illuminated Manuscripts
In the Middle Ages, all books were hand-written. They were original works of art with frequent incorporations of gold and sometimes silver leaves on the page. These pieces were called illuminated manuscripts. Some illuminated manuscripts were enlarged letters, which contained a picture found usually at the beginning of a paragraph but were also added to other section of text. Illuminated manuscripts were named from the first ones that were created and decorated in silver and gold. The first illuminated manuscripts were filled with religious text from the bible. These were the most common forms of art. Even though some manuscripts may be highly decorated in color only, it does not mean they are illuminated. A manuscript without gold or silver is not really illuminated (cmhuntsman).
The word illuminated comes from a Latin word ‘illuminare’. The word illuminare means enlightened or light up. This defines as the embellishment of a manuscript with luminous colors. The word manuscript comes from the Latin word for ‘handwritten’. Today the term is used to define text or letter accompanied by decorative illustrations (Illuminated Manuscripts).
The artists who made these illuminated manuscripts were called illuminators. They specialized in this one field and became experts in their craftsmanship. These illuminators were both male and female members of monasteries or convents. Although some were female, most were humble craftsmen who set up shop. Some were self-sufficient, nomadic artists who traveled from place to place looking for commissions. The best held the class of court artists at the prohibited service of a wealthy leader. Most remained anonymous until the late Middle Ages. As the status rose gradually from artisan to artist, more illuminators began to sign their work. They often included a small pictorial representation of themselves somewhere in the work (the illuminated page).
Illuminated manuscripts were a time-consuming and...

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