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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