"Innovation" was a quality often viewed with suspicion during the Middle Ages-it could even lead to excommunication-yet medieval craftsmen could be remarkably innovative in their work, creating fresh forms and transforming existing ones. The illuminated manuscript, which was both an artistic creation and a means of transmitting knowledge, was among the most remarkable cultural forms to emerge during the medieval period. But the manner in which manuscripts combined text and image varied greatly across the thousand years between ca. 500 and ca. 1500, demonstrating a powerful dialectic between tradition and innovation as scribes and artists experimented and interacted to produce some of the best designed books the world has ever seen. Drawing upon many outstanding examples among the great collections of The British Library, Michelle Brown will explore in this opening lecture how the illuminated manuscript demonstrates the ways in which medieval society perceived itself, its world, and its position in time.
The content of the lecture is the intellectual property of the contributor.