The Vitality of Manuscript Study

The art historian Professor Kathryn A. Smith (New York University) had praised the recently published Manuscripta Illuminata: Approaches to Understanding Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts, edited by Colum Hourihane (Princeton: Index of Christian Art and the Department of Art and Archaeology, in association with Penn State University Press, 2014). She does so in a book review, “Let There Be Light: Essays Promoting Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts,” in The Art Newspaper (October 2014), no. 261, a London-based monthly. Manuscripta Illuminata is the sixteenth volume in the Index of Christian Art’s Occasional Papers. The volume’s thirteen articles began as papers given at a well-attended October 2013 conference, which was organized by the Index of Christian Art in conjunction with the publication of Don C. Skemer, Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Princeton University Library (Princeton: Department of Art and Archaeology and the Princeton University Library, in association with Princeton University Press, 2013). In the past year, more than a hundred American and European research libraries have purchased the two-volume catalogue in the past year, which is available from Princeton University Press. Professor Smith describes Manuscripta Illuminata as “an engaging addition to the scholarship on the illuminated book and its place in medieval and early modern artistic, religious and intellectual history….Among the rewards of Manuscripta Illuminata is the opportunity it affords to learn more about Princeton’s rich holdings of western European material.” The book review reproduces a miniature of the Entry into Jerusalem, from a thirteenth-century English Psalter (Garrett MS. 35, fol 5v) in the Manuscripts Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. “Generously illustrated in (nearly) full colour,” Smith concludes, “Manuscripta Illuminata attests to the vitality of manuscript study and its centrality to cultural history.”

Manuscripta illuminata cover