Mission Statement

This blog journals my quest of art, whether it is a piece of work that is inherent in nature or one created by artists known or unknown or that I created myself. During this search, I have come to appreciate the magnificence and generosity of God who in his infinite wisdom surrounded us with exquisiteness everyday...everywhere and inspired our human spirit to create beauty that feeds our bodies and souls. Come join me on my journey to find art through my travels and my own creative endeavors. Maraming salamat.

All rights to all posts and contents on this blog, including photos and artwork are reserved by jojo sabalvaro tan.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Illuminated Manuscripts - Book of Hours

I am very fascinated with the Illuminated Manuscripts that were produced during the Middle and Renaissance Ages. These intricate works of calligraphy and painting are a wonder as they were produced under very low natural light or flickering candelight, mostly by monks. For sure, this was a very time consuming and costly process. It has been documented that some of these were made by women and started out aa a cottage industry of sorts as demand for these manuscripts for devotional purposes for both the well-to-do and ordinary folks increased and were no longer limited to the priest and clergy.

The most common illuminated manuscripts were the book of hours, a devotional book popular in the later Middle Ages. Each manuscript book of hours is unique in one way or another, but most contain a similar collection of texts, prayers and psalms, often with appropriate decorations, for Christian devotion. Illumination or decoration is minimal in many examples, often restricted to decorated capital letters at the start of psalms and other prayers, but books made for wealthy patrons may be extremely lavish, with full-page miniatures.

In the Middle Ages all books were hand-written original works of art. These “illuminated” manuscripts were so called because of their frequent incorporation of gold or sometimes silver leaf onto the page. Illumination comes from the Latin word illuminare, meaning “light up,” and when one sees one of these brilliant manuscripts in person, the term makes sense.

I've attempted to reproduce some of these manuscripts. The theme I chose was the mysteries of the Holy Rosary. I started out with the Joyful Mysteries. Here is what I came up with so far. i used watercolors and applied some gold paint, in keeping with the tradition of the using gold or silver in the original Illuminated Manuscripts. I found that I favored using my Arches Kolinsky sable watercolor brush #5 for the scroll work. The original Book of Hours were small prayer books, barely 5" x 4". These measure 8"x10". I used a scanner to reproduce my paintings. Unfortunately, the true color of the paintings did not show up as well. I will try to take photographs and see how those come out.


Finding at the Temple
Presentation at the Temple

There are three other mysteries - Light, Sorrowful and Glorious. I hope and pray I get through them. And then, on to my next projects - a breastfeeding nursing cover for my niece who is having a baby girl this year and a picture of Virgin Mary breastfeeding baby Jesus requested by my cousin who is staunch breastfeeding advocate. All of a sudden, I am on a breastfeeding kick!

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  1. Just found your blog. Fascinating subjects -- many are same interests as mine.

  2. Thank you, Myles. Delighted to share the same interest with you.