CATALOGUE: COLOUR. The Art and Science of Illuminated Manuscripts, edited by Stella Panayotova, Turnhout (Belgium) 2016 (Brepols Publishers), hardback, 420 p., 414 colour ill., € 75,00.
This richly illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition that celebrates the bicentenary of the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge with a display of its finest illuminated manuscripts.
Of all the medieval and Renaissance arts – from sculptures, ivories, frescoes and stained glass to easel and wall paintings – it is manuscript illuminations, protected inside volumes, that best preserve the glowing colours and precious metals that would have dazzled their original spectators.
The focus of this exciting and innovative exhibition is on COLOUR: it integrates scientific and art historical analyses of painting materials and techniques with studies on the manuscripts’ historic contexts of production, including the relationships between artists and patrons.
Identifications of the pigments’ chemical composition and methods of application are considered alongside their aesthetic impact as well as the multiple dimensions and meanings of colour appreciated by medieval and Renaissance viewers.
Over 150 manuscripts are displayed in the exhibition dating from the 8th to the 19th century and all are catalogued and fully illustrated here. The manuscripts are grouped in 14 thematic sections each of which is introduced by an essay that includes further relevant illustrations and presents the scientific and art historical analyses in a broader cultural context.
The majority of the exhibits are from the Museum’s collection and the main focus is on Western European illumination, but examples of Byzantine, Armenian, Persian and Sanskrit manuscripts are also included. In addition there are special loans from other Cambridge, British and European collections.
The catalogue entries and introductory essays are written by a team of leading manuscript scholars, scientists and conservators who offer an integrated, cross-disciplinary approach and new insights into the art of illumination.
Table of Contents
Director’s Preface, Acknowledgements.
* Stella Panayotova, Colour in Illuminated Manuscripts
* Paola Ricciardi and Kristine Rose Beers, The Illuminators’ Palette
* Spike Bucklow, The Trade in Colours
* Richard Gameson, The Image of the Illuminator
* Nancy K. Turner and Doris Oltrogge, Pigment Recipes and Model Books: Mechanisms for Knowledge. Transmission and the Training of Manuscript Illuminators
* Spike Bucklow, Alchemy and Colour
* Stella Panayotova and Paola Ricciardi, Masters’ Secrets
* Stella Panayotova, with contributions by Marie D’Autume, Edward Cheese, Rebecca Honold, Paola Ricciardiand Carola-Bibiane Schönlieb, From Vandalism to Reconstruction
* Nigel Morgan, Painting with Gold and Silver
* Nigel Morgan, Modelling in Manuscript Painting c.1050–c.1500
* Nigel Morgan and Elizabeth J. Moodey, Grisaille in Manuscript Painting
* Nancy Turner, ‘Incarnation’ Illuminated: Painting the Flesh in Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts
* Stella Panayotova, Colour Theory, Optics and Manuscript Illumination
* Deirdre Jackson, Colour and Meaning.
* Paola Ricciardi, Analytical Methods and Equipment Glossary of terms.
- Index of works of art cited