The Holy Junk Heap: In 1896, a cache of manuscripts -- mostly fragments -- was discovered in the storeroom ("genizah") at the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Old Cairo. The collection outlines a 1,000-year continuum (870 CE to the 19th century) of Jewish Middle-Eastern and North African history and comprises the largest and most diverse collection of medieval manuscripts in the world, including Jewish religious texts such as Biblical, Talmudic and later Rabbinic works (some in the original hands of the authors), "letters, wills, bills of lading, prayers, marriage contracts and writs of divorce, Bibles, money orders, court depositions, business inventories, leases, magic charms and receipts" which give a detailed picture of the economic and cultural life of the North African and Eastern Mediterranean regions, especially during the 10th to 13th centuries. [more inside]
Model books, examples for medieval scribes to copy from and adapt in their work, are like illuminated manuscripts in concentrated form. A post from medieval historian Erik Kwakkel's excellent new blog, a longform complement to his excellent Tumblr (previously).
Trinity College Dublin has added high-quality scans of the Book of Kells to their archives. These scans are now viewable by the public online.
After Michael Mann set out to direct Collateral, the story’s setting moved from New York to Los Angeles. This decision was in part motivated by the unique visual presence of the city — especially the way it looked at night. Mann shot a majority of the film in HD (this was 2004), feeling the format better captured the city’s night lighting. Even the film’s protagonist taxi needed a custom coat to pick up different sheens depending on the type of artificial lighting the cab passed beneath. That city, at least as it appears in Collateral and countless other films, will never be the same again. L.A. has made a vast change-over to LED street lights, with New York City not far behind. Why Hollywood Will Never Look the Same Again on Film: LEDs Hit the Streets of LA & NY
Anniina, the editor of Luminarium, makes beautiful cookies that look like medieval illuminated initials: "I chose historiated initials from several manuscripts, printed them on edible paper with edible ink, attached them to square cookies and gave them gold edges. Who says love of literature and art can't fill a belly?!" [more inside]
In 2007, a 15th-century illuminated manuscript returned to the George Peabody Library in Baltimore after going missing over 40 years ago. [more inside]
How do you make a bicycle more visible to drivers at night? Create a new wheel-based lighting system: Vimeo / Youtube. Kickstarter campaign is finished and funded, (details of the design at that page) and the company is hoping to have them on sale by March 2012. Via. More. Demo videos. [more inside]
The Morgan Library Black Hours, one of the world's most beautiful and striking illuminated manuscripts, has been digitized in its entirety. Richly decorated in blue and gold on black vellum, it is one of a surviving handful of such manuscripts produced in late 15th century Bruges. (Poorer quality, but still interesting, images of another such work, the Black Hours of Charles the Bold, are also online.
Signs & Symbols: Decoding Mediaeval & Renaissance Iconography. An online exhibition from the Dunedin Public Library. Does what is implied on the tin, if you have a grounding in the history of tin-decoration.
Saint John’s Abbey and University today announced the historic completion of The Saint John’s Bible, the only handwritten and illuminated Bible commissioned by a Benedictine Monastery since the advent of the printing press more than 500 years ago.You can explore this beauty online. NPR ran a story on the The Saint John’s Bible back in 1995. A short documentary about the Bible. The Library of Congress's online exhibition.
Visitors to the Morgan Library in New York will have a rare opportunity to view one of the great masterworks of medieval illumination, the Hours of Catherine of Cleves. But if you don't have a chance to visit, all 157 miniatures have been digitized.
Jean Fouquet, peintre et enlumineur du XVe siecle is an exquisite French-language exhibition devoted to the fifteenth-century painter Jean Fouquet. Fouquet--known, among other things, as the painter of (possibly) the first stand-alone self-portrait--is best remembered for the Melun Diptych, now split between two museums. His illuminations include the Book of Hours of Étienne Chevalier and contributions to the Book of Hours of Simon de Varie, among others.
"[Celtic] knots are most known for their adaptation for use in the ornamentation of Christian monuments and manuscripts like the 8th century St. Teilo Gospels, the Book of Kells and the Lindisfarne Gospels." [more inside]
The Prague Bible (1489) is a splendid three-volume MS of the Tanakh, once in the possession of Enlightenment luminary Moses Mendelssohn. There are several other beautiful examples of medieval and early modern Hebrew MSS online, including the Illuminated Hebrew Manuscripts collection (New York Public Library), the Illuminated Haggadah Exhibit (Klau University), selections from Moses Maimonides' Moreh Nevukim (Leiden University), and the Prato Haggadah (Jewish Theological Seminary). See also the introduction to the Hebraic Collections at the Library of Congress.
15th Century Manuscript Illumination. Page through a chronicle of the world, the fates of illustrious men and women, a journey through Hell and Paradise and a Book of Hours.
High Tec Shadow Play 'In Rotterdam, Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer used two 7000 watt lamps to create 1200 square metres of projected images which were overlayed by the shadows of passer-by's. A computer based tracking system monitored the shadows. Once the shadows matched the projected image, a new image (or "scene") was triggered. ' An impressive (if extravagant) bit of public art (QuickTime)