Illuminated Manuscripts: Masterpieces of Art


“…the chronicler’s emblems: Matthew’s man, John’s eagle, Luke’s winged ox and the lion of St. Mark.”

“Looming up behind this fourth-century saint [St. Margaret], we see the dragon in whose ferocious form the Devil himself appeared to eat her. Miraculously, the cross she is holding irritated his insides and he coughed her up.”

“When copper is exposed to the fumes from an acid such as vinegar, it becomes discoloured, as a greenish substance known as ‘verdigris’ forms. Since ancient times, artists had known that this could be scraped off and mixed with vinegar to make a greenish paint.”

“Whilst it can come as a surprise how consciously and systematically colour symbolism was used in medieval art, the associations made do not seem to remarkable today: black for death; white for purity and innocence; gold for godly radiance; green for freshness and fertility, and so on. … Brown is used, as common sense would dictate, to suggest a drab and down-to-earth humility.”

“Originally an economic measure, the Oppian Law (215 BC) had forbidden conspicuous displays of finery in women.”

“A celebration of courtly love, the Roman de la Rose was the nearest thing medieval Europe had to a bestseller. Some 300 copies survive; astonishing for a secular work from pre-print times.”

some quotes I found interesting from the Illuminated Manuscripts volume of the Masterpieces of Art series



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