Searching for Easter Week in Illuminated Manuscripts

Happy Easter Everyone. With Easter and the Holy Week before it I wondered what medieval images I could find about them. I expected there to be an illuminated manuscripts image bonanza and nerdy trivia, but first I needed find how to search for them. As usual, Wikipedia provides a place to start.  Holy Week is Lent’s fifth and last week and the week before Christian Easter. It also includes Friday of Sorrows, a solemn remembrance day for the Virgin Mary, and the Friday before Palm Sunday. It is memorable for Jesus crucifixion. While this information is known by many, when searching Google for anything it is important to have proper terms to avoid unrelated, possibly even offensive items. I began with “Friday of Sorrows in illuminated manuscripts” because I did not know that phrase and was curious. I found nothing by Google. That’s rare, but it happens. Moving on and changing topics I used Google and found numerous beautiful examples of “crucifixion in illuminated manuscripts.” (Of course, I found some extraneous items too.) Crucifixion by Meister des Rabula-Evangeliums  That netted me the earliest illuminated crucifixion. Intriguing because it is a long lasting first. It is in the Rabbula Gospels, a 6th-century Syriac Gospel Book and one of the finest Byzantine illuminated manuscripts. I also searched for “Holy Week Illuminated Manuscripts” and found Thomas Stone’s book collectors blog “The Books in My Life” posting in 2011 about Holy Week-Collecting Books of Hours. A relevant post for scribes on Books of Hours.   British Library’s […]

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My Unforgettable Magic Moment

Have you ever had a magic moment? An experience so sweet and serendipitous it gives you goose bumps. Time slows down and you are transported to another dimension. Many men say watching their child born was like that. Women are usually too busy at that moment to have that feeling. I’ve had some minor ones, like unexpectedly hearing a group of people sing “Non Nobis Domeni” in a large, echoing hall. Electrifying and beautiful. A magic moment, as expressed by The Drifters in the 1960s comes as a surprise and makes you feel that special something will last forever. My spectacular magic moment came about first because I saw an encaustic painting by Jasper Johns and read that encaustic was used early in history. I studied it and attempted it…unsuccessfully. St. Peter the Apostle 7th Century, Encaustic When visiting my brother Charles in Los Angeles several years ago, on a whim, we went to the Getty Museum, again. As we drove around the long entry road, huge posters blasted notice about the current exhibit. It was Holy Image, Hallowed Ground: Icons from Sinai. Virgin and Child with Saints 6th Century, Encaustic  These were the oldest surviving icons from the Byzantine world from the remote Holy Monastery of Saint Catherine. These 53 objects had escaped destruction by Byzantine emperors during Iconoclasm of the 700 – 800s. The monks of Saint Catherines cared for them all these centuries – over a thousand years –  and generously […]

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My 10 Favorite European Illuminated Manuscript Inspirations

For your viewing pleasure, I give you my 10 most artistically inspiring illuminated manuscripts. Not all are lavish, but all encourage my creativity. I hope they do yours too.  Book of Kells created c. 800, is a calligraphy masterwork and pinnacle of Insular illumination. Regarded as Ireland’s finest national treasure, its extravagance and decoration complexity combines traditional Christian motifs with ornate swirling patterns. Humans, animals […]

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