These manuscripts ain't gonna illuminate themselves
September 12, 2014 8:40 AM   Subscribe

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).
posted by Horace Rumpole (3 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

This is great. I work for a sculptor that takes designs from illuminated manuscripts. He'd be interested in seeing this.

posted by Jalliah at 9:07 AM on September 12, 2014

Whoa that's super cool they have to how-to book and then a different book, a Gutenberg bible no less, where the monk used the how-to to make the decoration. That is incredibly nifty to me.

I can't wait for this to show up in some historical fiction where some bored but talented monk messes with the how-to book so that bad words or phrases or pictures somehow form when decorations commonly placed near one another are near together on a page, but you wouldn't notice in the how-to book because there'd be a few pages of instructions spacing it out. Like once the decorations are all together on one page, the scribe has unwittingly made one of those pictures you see from far away but not up close.

And it could involve secret societies and that dude from The Name of the Rose on his next adventure.
posted by sio42 at 9:22 AM on September 12, 2014

So pretty! I sort of want a font based on Giovannino de Grassi's alphabet book, but somehow it feels self indulgent to be able to so casually reproduce illustrations from a 14th century model book. Mind you, I get the same guilty feeling just from being able to read the articles. The 21st century is weird sometimes.
posted by langtonsant at 2:41 AM on September 13, 2014

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