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Bibles and Bestiaries: A Guide to Illuminated Manuscripts Hardcover – October 31, 1994

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Medieval manuscripts inspire Rosalyn Schanzer's illustrations of a 14th-century kingdom in Ezra's Quest: Follow That Dog. Readers, armed with the nifty purple crayon and bright pink eraser that come with the book, battle their way through a series of elaborate mazes to reunite Ezra with his kidnapped dog (Doubleday, $12.95, 32p, ages 4-9 ISBN 0-385-32262-3, Oct.).
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up-This finely wrought volume illuminates the power of words and pictures on paper (or velum) to inform, to influence ideas, and to stir emotions. Using the extensive collection of manuscripts in the Pierpont Morgan Library, Wilson demonstrates the many ways that writers and artists recorded the major concerns of their day. Of special interest for modern minds is the impressive demonstration of the artistic importance of what, too often, is called the "minor art" of illuminated manuscripts. Using examples from Europe as well as Persian and Arabic works, the author shows the aesthetic content of the calligraphy, decorations, pictures, and their design. She makes a fine case for considering them major art objects. The 87 beautifully reproduced illuminations (mostly in color) have the quality of replicas, and they allow readers to respond to the details and to appreciate the ultimate craftsmanship of the frequently anonymous artisans. The text is brief and lucid, and the expanded captions supplement the flow of the narrative with informative, even amusing anecdotes. The author offers considerable insight into the relationship of text and illustration. This handsome title should help youngsters better value our legacy of manuscripts and their contemporary descendents-the picture book.
Kenneth Marantz, Art Education Department, Ohio State University, Columbus
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1st edition (October 31, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374306850
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374306854
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 10.9 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #682,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This short book attempts to introduce the illuminated manuscript to young audiences. It's a quick read for adults. The information contained in the text is reasonable; just enough to introduce the huge differences between modern and medieval technology without going into overwhelming detail.
As an adult, I particularly enjoy the fine, color reproductions of illuminated pages, many of which are presented at actual size. I also enjoy the author's inclusions of examples of scribal errors; we are so accustomed in this day and age to the flawless reproduction of the computer era that it is nice to be reminded of the values of hand-production.
In all, it's a very nice book for young people, and a nice introduction for an adult wanting just a little information about manuscripts. If you collect books about illuminated manuscripts, as I do, it's worth getting, but if you want just one book for an adult reader looking for a broad, scholarly study of manuscripts, you'd be better off with de Hamel's "A History of Illuminated Manuscripts."
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Format: Hardcover
When I saw the word "Illuminated" and the B in "Bible" looking like an illuminated letter, I thought there'd be more of them in this book. My bad for being a little presumptuous. That said, this book is quite nice for its coverage of illuminated manuscripts. I found out one thing I should have realized from studying Latin and from my love of goldwork in needlework: "illuminated" is from the Latin "lumen" which means "light": this refers not just to these pictures being painted but painted with precious METALS including gold and silver to reflect light and look particularly magnificent. This made painting on parchment, far predating the printing press, worth it for all the painstaking work and length of time it took. "Manuscript" is also Latin in origin, "manus" being "hand" and our English word "script" coming from "scribere" meaning "to write." The fine inks rather than paint used, embellished with metallics, were so precious and used to such perfection that many inner pages and even book covers are still glorious to see, perhaps weathering the centuries because of the quality of the materials and skills of the scribes.

These are not all drawings but many photographs including in color of the extant works. Very pretty. And the text is excellent in describing the techniques used and the importance of these works. The Introduction includes the words of warning in a medieval German Bible:

"If anyone take away this book, let him die the death;
let him be fried in a pan;
let the falling sickness and fever seize him;
let him be broken on the wheel
and hanged.
Amen."

Amen indeed! (Not very Christian in concept though....)

My next favorite example is "Pessime mus!
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By trish on October 8, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Beautifully illustrated book. Love the explanations with it.
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