November 6, 2010-April 17, 2011
Look more keenly at the book and you will penetrate to the very shrine of art. You will make out intricacies, so delicate and subtle, so exact and compact, so full of knots and links, with colors so fresh and vivid.
-Giraldus Cambrensis, English priest, 1185
Books produced in the Middle Ages-before the development of printing with movable type-were written by hand. The word manuscript literally means "written with the hand," while the word illuminate means "to light up" and refers to any gold, silver, or bright colors that have been added. At first, monasteries were the only places where books were found, and monks the only people who copied them-in special rooms for this purpose called the scriptoria at every monastery. The copying of books, without which church services could not be conducted and monastic life could not exist, went on in monasteries all across Europe. Often elaborately decorated in a multitude of styles and formats, illuminated manuscripts eventually flourished in ecclesiastical, monastic, devotional, courtly, legal, and academic contexts throughout the Middle Ages and early Renaissance. The illuminated manuscript combines the arts of painting, calligraphy, and book binding and was practiced by some of the most important artists of the time. This exhibition highlights selections from the museum's permanent collection.
Organized by the Cleveland Museum of Art. The Cleveland Museum of Art is generously funded by Cuyahoga County residents through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. The Ohio Arts Council helped fund this exhibition with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans.