Thursday, May 12, 2022

How did Europeans produce Images & Text before the Invention of the Printing Press?


Illuminated Manuscripts - Parchment Sellers scrubbing & stretching the parchment 15th century Bologna, University Library. Cod. Bonon. 963, f. 4.

European manuscript Illuminations began at end of the 4C, as Christianity was spreading.  The need to illustrate books usually developed with a style specific to the region & civilization. In Western Europe, from the 6C until the 12C, the illustrated manuscript was mainly religious, created by Christian monks copyists (usually the scholars of their area) in abbeys. Towards the 13C with the development & growth of European universities & administrations, the demand for books was increasing & lay workshops were created.  During the 10 centuries of illuminations in Europe, several styles emerged : Island style (British Isles) & Merovingian (before the 9C), Carolingian style (9-10C), Romanesque style (10-12C), Transitional period (13C), Gothic style (14-16C). At the end of the 15C the invention of printing greatly reduced the production of  books painted by the human hand.

Manuscripts were hand-written & illustrated during the medieval era (A.D. 500-1500), before the invention of printing presses. They were time-consuming & expensive to make; but obviously, the method was quicker & much more portable than carving language symbols in stone or wood.
Illuminated Manuscripts - Scribe buying parchment Copenhagen, Royal Library. Ms. 4, 2o f. 183v.

Manuscripts were usually written parchment or vellum made from the skins of sheep, calves, or goats. Parchment & vellum are often used interchangeably, although sometimes vellum refers to a finer quality of writing material.  Parchment was eventually replaced by paper. Some manuscripts were written on paper made from linen rags. Sometimes lines were ruled on the pages of manuscripts to guide the script writer.
Illuminated Manuscripts - Santa Catalina de Bolonia  

Some manuscripts were written on papyrus, a fragile Egyptian reed material, which continued to be used for manuscripts until the 7-8th-centuries. Papyrus plantations came to Sicily during the papacy of Gregory I (590-604) & so loved that papyrus was used for papal correspondence until the 11th century.
Illuminated Manuscripts - Biblical Matthew ruling parchment 12th cent Dinant Gospels Manchester, John Rylands University Library. Rylands Latin Ms. 11, f. 14.

In the Early Middle Ages, the majority of manuscripts produced served as the liturgical books used by priests & monks in churches & monasteries.
Illuminated Manuscripts - Biblical Mark sharpening his quill in French Renaissance Book of Hours as a scribe Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury, The National Trust. Ms 20, f. 13v.

As the church expanded & new monesteries were built, more liturgical books were needed. At new venues, the abbot or the monks initially came from an already established monastic community, which provided the most urgent books for the new site.  Immediately the monks began to copy necessary books for themselves.
Illuminated Manuscripts - Biblical Paul sharpens his quill, assistant rubs parchment with pumice stone  Colegio Santa Catalina de Bolonia

Medieval copyist monks, often called scribes, were responsible for copying the existing works of authors by hand. 
Illuminated Manuscripts - Jean Miélot, also Jehan, (d. 1472) scribe for Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy from 1449-1467. Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France Ms. Fr. 9198, f. 19.

As early as the 1100s, books began to be produced for wealthy individuals as well as religious institutions. There began to be a growing secular, well-to-do reading public demanding an increase in manuscript production.
Illuminated Manuscripts - Detail from the Codex Caesareus Upsaliensis Emperor's Bible Matthew Uppsala University Library (c 93)

Because manuscripts were very expensive to make, they often served as status symbols for the upper classes. Most families who owned manuscripts held privileged positions in society.
Illuminated Manuscripts - Initial letter G, from a manuscript produced in northern Italy during the early 1400s.

The major themes of manuscripts became more diversified as the secular readership grew and included the traditional religious (particularly Christianity) books plus new art & how-to-do subjects such as courtly activities, the hunt, decorative & medicinal gardening, & literature.
Illuminated Manuscripts -  sprytny mebel. Gabriel Mälesskircher - św. Mateusz - 1478
Illuminated Manuscripts - Bookbinder. Landauer Twelve Brothers House manuscript 1400s
Illuminated Manuscripts -  Scribe at Work. circa 1160-70. Eadwine Psalter. Christ Church. Canterbury (England) UK.
Illuminated Manuscripts - 1150-1200 Manuscript Koninklijke Bibliotheek, The Hague
 Illuminated Manuscripts - Hague mmw 10 a 15pts - 
Illuminated Manuscripts - 1Le copiste-enlumineur Giovanni Colonna, Mare historiarum, ouest de la France (Angers ), milieu XVe siècle
Illuminated Manuscripts - Biblical John the Evangelist with his eagle. Gabriel Mälesskircher
Illuminated Manuscripts - Biblical Mark with his lion. Gabriel Mälesskircher
Illuminated Manuscripts - Scribe Jean Jean Miélot, 1400s, Brussels Royal Library, MS 9278, fol. 10r
Illuminated Manuscripts - Biblical John (depicted as a scribe) from Bodleian Library MS Auct. D. 1.17
Illuminated Manuscripts - Laurence before 1149 as a scribe Durham, University Library. Ms. Cosin V. III. 1. f. 22v.
Illuminated Manuscripts - Josephus and Scribe Samuel Canterbury 1130 Cambridge, St, John’s College. Ms. A. 8, fol. 103v.
Illuminated Manuscripts - Biblical John with a few helpers depicted recording Book of Revelation Book of Hours c 1480
Illuminated Manuscripts - Domenico Ghirlandaio Portrait of Jerome writing in his Study 1480
Illuminated Manuscripts -  G. Tory (1480-1533) Scribe with a little divine guidance Book of Hours, Ms. Library of Congress. Rosenwald ms. 10 (1533)
Illuminated Manuscripts - Apparently harried scribe writing & holding his ink. Biblical Matthew, from the Gospel Book of Archbishop Ebbo of Reims, Hautvilliers near Reims, c. 816 - 35. Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris.
Illuminated Manuscripts - This scribe appears to have very little power. Augustine De Civitate Dei 1100s Apprentice Everwinus + Master Hildebertus Prague, The Metropolitan Chapter Library. Ms. A XXI-1. f. 153v.
Illuminated Manuscripts - Organized scribe Ezra rewriting the Sacred Records with storage cabinet, from the Codex Amiatinus, Jarrow, early 8C. Biblioteca Medicea-Laurenziana, Florence.
Illuminated Manuscripts - A leaf from the Skevra Evangeliary (Lviv Evangeliary)  1198
Illuminated Manuscripts - A leaf from the Skevra Evangeliary (Lviv Evangeliary)  1198
Illuminated Manuscripts - A scribe reportedly copying Gospels of Kildare. The British Library
Illuminated Manuscripts - A scribe writing. The British Library
Illuminated Manuscripts -  Nationale de France, Dossier pédagogique - Jean Fouquet
Illuminated Manuscripts - It's always nice to have an Angel helping you. British Library
Illuminated Manuscripts - British Library Netherlands Manuscript 1479
Illuminated Manuscripts - British Library
Illuminated Manuscripts - Christine de Pizan at work guarded by Lady Justice with her Sword and Sheild 15C  Between 1410-15, Christine de Pizan presented the Queen of France, Isabeau de Bavière, with a lavishly illustrated copy of her collected works. Christine de Pizan was attempting "to establish & to authorize her new identity as a woman writer."  Christine, born in Venice in 1364, was the daughter of Thomas de Pizan, a respected astrologer. While still a child, she left her native Italy with the rest of her family to join her father who had taken a position as the astrologer & physician in the court of Charles V. At the age of 15, she married Etienne Castel, a young nobleman who served as a secretary in the royal chancery. With the deaths of her father & husband, Christine's "secure" position was gone. Later in her Livre de la Mutacion de fortune (The Book of the Change of Fortune), she was to describe her situation as being adrift on a ship during a storm. With the loss of her husband, she had to take the helm. She chose the role of the husband in the family. Christine resisted the usual solutions of remarriage or entry into a convent. Instead she began a career as a writer.
Illuminated Manuscripts - Christine de Pizan, 1st woman in western literature known to make a living from her work, writing a book.
Illuminated Manuscripts - Codex Manesse Schulmeister
Illuminated Manuscripts - Gallica  Bibliothèque nationale de France, Jacques de Voragine , Légende dorée, 15e siècle
Am Illuminated manuscript in the Musée Marmottan's
Illuminated Manuscripts - Biblical Mark the Evangelist Artist - Grigor Tatevatsi, 1378 Gospel, 1297
Illuminated Manuscripts - Siena, Biblioteca Communale degli Intronati, I.V.25-26, 1399
Illuminated Manuscripts - Dunstan Writing, Extracted From A Commentary On The Rule Of St. Benedict 1170
Illuminated Manuscripts - Biblical John writing at desk. MS. Laud Lat. 9, France, Ca. 1220-1230.
Illuminated Manuscripts - Biblical Matthew. Image from the Lindisfarne Gospels. The British Library