- Gallery - Index by Period
HumanitiesWeb HumanitiesWeb
Periods Alphabetically Nationality Topics Themes Medium Glossary

Sort by Period
Sort Alphabetically
Sort by Nationality
Themes in Art


Get Your Degree!

Find schools and get information on the program that’s right for you.

Powered by Campus Explorer

& etc

All Rights Reserved.

Site last updated
28 October, 2012
Real Time Analytics

Index by Period

The Art of the Illuminated Manuscript
(500 - 1600)

The earliest medieval art was produced by anonymous scribes working in monasteries painstakingly illuminating manuscripts. Many of these beautiful works still survive, ascribed to artists such as William de Brailes, who worked in Oxford between 1238 and 1252. Artist like him specialised in the illumination of bibles and psalters and worked in monasteries and workshops across the Christian world producing uplifting volumes for the very richest clients.

At this time relatively few people could read, even among the ruling class, so illustration played a hugely important role in conveying the Christian message. Religious paintings were used also as teaching and learning tools, similar in intent in many ways to stained glass windows in cathedrals and churches. It was not until the nineteenth century that the majority of the population was able to read, so a painting of a pertinent story from, for example, the gospels, would be used to reinforce the verbal story from the local priest. Of course, not everyone had easy access to such magnificent pictures, but many were displayed in the great cathedrals and institutions of Europe open to the public for their edification and enlightenment.

contributed by Gifford, Katya

10 April 2002

Artists Related Articles
Limbourg Brothers
Erhard Reuwich
The Luttrell Psalter
St. Matthew in Early Art
Painting with Words


Terms Defined

In Context