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This subject examines the art of the illuminated manuscript and its importance in medieval and Renaissance culture. It introduces students to the basic elements of codicology - the study of the physical structure of the book - and it focuses on the relationship between text and decoration. Students will study the various kinds of interaction between patrons, scribes and artists in the making of a manuscript and the ways in which the function of particular kinds of books may be reflected in their design and ornamentation. Key types of illuminated manuscripts to be studied include the Insular and Carolingian Gospel Book, the Medieval Psalter, the Bestiary, the Book of Hours, vernacular histories and romances, and the Renaissance humanist book. Students will have access to the collection of facsimiles in the Baillieu Library and to some original manuscripts in Victorian collections.
Intended learning outcomes
On successful completion of this subject, students will:
- have an understanding of the evolution of the book in Western Europe during the period 200-1450;
- have an understanding of the nature of Late Antique Roman art and its influence on an emergent Christian decorative tradition;
- be familiar with the major genres of liturgical books and books of private devotion, including Gospel Books, Psalters, Bestiaries, and Books of Hours;
- have examined the relationship between text and image in liturgical and devotional manuscripts;
- have an understanding of different modes of book production in Western Europe; and
- have studied the interaction between the scribes, artists and patrons involved in commissioning and producing illuminated manuscripts.
At the completion of this subject, students will gain the following generic skills:
- be able to research through the competent use of the library and other information sources, and be able to define areas of inquiry and methods of research in the preparation of essays;
- be able to conceptualise theoretical problems, form judgements and arguments and communicate critically, creatively and theoretically through essay writing, tutorial discussion and presentations;
- be able to communicate knowledge intelligibly and economically through essay writing and tutorial discussion;
- be able to manage and organise workloads for recommended reading, the completion of essays and assignments and examination revision; and
- be able to participate in team work through involvement in syndicate groups and group discussions.
Last updated: 31 January 2024