Codices Illustres: The World's Most Famous Manuscripts 400 to 1600 by Ingo F. Walther & Norbert Wolf
folio. pp. 496. profusely illustrated. hardcover. dw. Koln: Taschen, 2002.
New in publisher's shrink wrap.
ISBN 10: 3822858528ISBN 13: 9783822858523
OPULENT REPRODUCTIONS OF ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPTS SPANNING 12 CENTURIES
This oversized and magnificently printed tour de force contains examples from 167 of the most dazzling and significant illuminated manuscripts in existence. Presented in chronological order, each reproduction illustrates a one-of-a-kind painting originally created for the church, for royalty or for the wealthiest private benefactors. Although the focus is on European manuscripts (French, Dutch, German, Italian, English and Spanish), nearly two dozen examples have also been included from Persia, Turkey and India – cultures with their own rich traditions of exquisite miniature painting.
The highly readable text is both factual and informational. Each entry provides the date and place of origin, format, content, name of miniaturist, number of illustrations, owner and provenance for the featured manuscript. Enriching the facts are essays describing the circumstances of the commission, description of the technique, history of the workshop from which it came, and much more.
CODICES ILLUSTRES is an unparalleled reference, but also an irresistible story book, revealing to the reader the significance of imagery used, and sharing fascinating facts about the painters who created these treasures and the patrons who were lucky enough to possess them.
A thirty-six page appendix contains biographies of the artists, an extensive bibliography, an index, and a glossary in which the technical terms used in the book can quickly be found. Flanking the page numbers are charming characters and symbols taken from the manuscripts, providing a witty decorative grace note to what is already an embarrassment of riches. Of special note; a fifth color – gold – was used in the printing of two hundred and twelve pages of CODICES ILLUSTRES. This complicated and costly process is the only way to genuinely reproduce the lavish gilding used in so many medieval manuscripts and the book wouldn’t be the same without it.
CODICES ILLUSTRES is an essential addition to the library of anyone with an interest illuminated manuscripts, medieval art, and the history of books before the invention of printing.