24 December, 2008

Nativity Art and The Book of Kells; Old Books

Virgin and Child From The Book of Kells

In Western art, the illuminated manuscript image shown above is the oldest extant depiction of the nativity. It is found in the Book of Kells, which is the grandest artifact in Irish culture, and certainly a great Western art treasure.

For nativity image inspiration, see this article. And for more on TBOK, go here.

A stunning contemporary project has artists illuminating the Millennial Bible, known as The Saint John's Bible. Their press:
In commissioning a handwritten, illuminated Bible, Saint John's revives a tradition that has been nearly absent from the Christian world since the invention of the printing press in the fifteenth century. The Saint John's Bible affirms this community's commitment to the study of Scripture, to the book arts and to educational, artistic, spiritual and scholarly pursuits.

Oldest Book on the Shelf

Bibliophiles swoon at these types of things. The oldest book in my personal library is Stories By English Authors, Scotland, 1898. My favorite story from it is The Courting of T'nowhead's Bell, byJ.M. Barrie, and it is a knee-slapper about the culmination of courtship come down to who can foot race to the church fastest. I have a few books dated @ 1900-1905, too.

The book is up at Google books here. Also, a readable version of The Courting of T'nowhead's Bell is here.


Anonymous said...

I love looking at the Book of Kells. I love it so much, that I painted a replica of one of the pages to make it into my wedding invitation cover. All artists should read about this in art history at one time or another.

Casey Klahn said...

That's cool, Kim. I remember doing our whole invitation in calligraphy.

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