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The Art of Illumination : an anthology of manuscripts from the sixth to the sixteenth century© 1969  P. D'Ancona & E. Aeschlimann


St Matthew. Grimbald Gospels. Winchester School, early 11 th century. London, British Museum, MS. Add 34890, fol 10v.
The Ascension. Gospels. Italian, 1170. Padua, Biblioteca Capitolare, Codex Isidore, fol. 38 v.

David in Prayer, Psalter and New Testament. Florentine, second half of the 15 th century. Florence, Biblioteca Laurenziana, MS. Plut, 15.17, fol 2 v.


The Art of Illumination : an anthology of manuscripts from the sixth  to the sixteenth century .

 145 Illustrations, 24 in colour

The illumination of manuscripts is an art-form which has only recently taken its rightful place beside panel and wall painting in the history of art.  Quite apart from its purely aesthetic appeal - rich in invention, excitement, skill and often dramatic impact - manuscript illumination throws light on whole periods of art history for which there is little other pictorial evidence, or where frescoes and panel paintings have suffered from retouching and restoration.  Miniature paintings nearly always come down to us fresh and unspoiled, and since their scale permits them frequently to be reproduced in original size, we have the unique opportunity of enjoying and studying an art-form in the manner in which it was intended - in the book

The present publication offers a rich and fascinating anthology of illuminated manuscripts from the sixth to the sixteenth century.  The selection includes not only pages from many great and familiar Bibles, Psalters, Gospel Books and Books of Hours, but also less well-known illustrations which are often profoundly imaginative and pictorially exciting.  The choice of plates, 24 of which are in full colour, extends from the graceful early Byzantine illustrations and the more monumental Carolingian folios, to the late and ornate pages painted by 16 th century Italian artists.  There are examples of English, Irish, German, Austrian, Flemish, French, Italian and Spanish illumination, some shown in enlarged details.

To introduce these impressive corpus of plates, Professor Aeschlimann and the late Professor d'Ancoma - both renowned authorities - have written a concise and informative survey of the history of miniature painting, tracing the development of the different schools and analysing briefly their stylistic features.  There are also full and detailed notes on each plate, as well as a Bibliography


Source : The art of illumination: an anthology of manuscripts from the sixth to the sixteenth century / P. D'Ancona & E.  Aeschlimann    
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