The Evolution of the European Manuscript Essay by Bookish Ivan

The Evolution of the European Manuscript
A history of the development of the manuscript in Europe, particularly the illuminated manuscript.
# 58537 | 1,800 words | 6 sources | MLA | 2004 | US
Published on May 16, 2005 in Art (History) , Art (Fine Art) , Art (Other Mediums) , History (European - 16th Century)


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Description:

This paper gives a brief history of the evolution of the European manuscript. The paper begins with the invention of the Roman codex, then describes the development of Merovingian and insular manuscripts. Next, it discusses the Carolingian Renaissance of the 8th to early 10th centuries. In the medieval period, the manuscript developed through Romanesque, Gothic, and High Gothic phases, and the quantity of books and genres greatly increased. By the Renaissance, England and France had passed their zenith as centers of illumination, but manuscript production in Italy and the Netherlands began to flourish. The final period discussed is the late Renaissance revival of Roman themes. By this time, movable type had overtaken manuscript creation as the primary form of bookmaking.

From the Paper:

"After the Carolingian Renaissance came the Romanesque period, which many consider to be the "golden age of illuminated manuscripts." This period took place in the 11th and 12th centuries in England and France, but did not reach its height in Germany until the 13th century. All elements of the Romanesque manuscript were in harmony: the proportions of lettering and text, the page texture, and the polychromatic illumination. Pages were decorated with 'increased economy and concentration." Initials were the central feature and were decorated with foliage scrolls "inhabited by biting beats, birds, and climbing human figures." Word separation, which had begun in Ireland, was introduced on the continent. During the 12th century, books became larger and developed a two-column format. In this century, tables of contents and indices were added. Romanesque manuscripts showed a widening range of themes. There were more classical works, saints' lives, and chronicles; scientific, legal, and philosophical manuscripts also appeared."

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