RIT CARY GRAPHIC ARTS COLLECTION
Breviaries - Illustrations
Illumination of books and manuscripts, Medieval
Ms. This manuscript leaf is part of a collection of medieval manuscript leaves selected to illustrate the art of the manuscript during the period of its greatest development and influence. They have been taken from books written in various European scriptoria by Benedictine, Franciscan, Carthusian, Dominican, and other orders of monks. Many are enriched with handsome borders, initial letters, and line-endings rendered in color. Twenty-five are illuminated with burnished gold or silver. The texts include the Bible, various church service books, the writings of the Church fathers, and some of the Classics.
Breviaries were seldom owned by laymen. They were service books and contained the Psalter with the versicles, responses, collects and lections for Sundays, weekdays, and saints' days. Other texts could be included. A Breviary, therefore, was lengthy and usually bulky in format. Miniature copies like the one represented by this leaf are rare. The angular gothic script required a skilled calligrapher. It would be difficult for a modern engrosser to match, even with steel pens, the exactness and sharpness of these letters formed with a quill by a 13th century scribe. Green was a decorative color added to the palette in the late 13th century in many scriptoria. The medieval formulae for making it from earth, flowers, berries, and metals are often elaborate and strange. This manuscript was written on fine uterine vellum, i.e., the skin of an unborn calf. It evidently had hard use, or may have been buried with its owner. This vellum leaf was created in France.
Rochester Institute of Technology - RIT Libraries - Cary Graphic Arts Collection
Ege, Otto F.
Date of Original:
Date of Digitization:
Digital File Format:
Dimensions of Original:
11 x 7 cm
Original Item Location:
PORTFOLIO BOX 1-16
RIT Libraries makes materials from its collections available for educational and research purposes pursuant to U.S. Copyright Law. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. It is your responsibility to obtain permission from the copyright holder to publish or reproduce images in print or electronic form.
The manuscript leaves of this collection were accumulated and selected and most of the accompanying information was prepared over a period of forty years by the late Otto F. Ege, Dean of the Cleveland Institute of Art and Lecturer on the History of the Book at the School of Library Science, Western Reserve University. Each leaf is matted and accompanied by a descriptive letterpress label.
Breviary. Fragments. Late 13th century