Illumination
 

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Hiberno-Saxon Style
600 - 800

Hiberno = Ireland
Saxon = England
 
  • Ireland had not been invaded by Germanic migrants
  • Ireland never a part of the Roman Empire
    • Maintained a vigorous spirit of independence
    • Encouraged by their geographic isolation
Book of Kells carpet page, probably from Iona, Scotland, late 8th or early 9th century. Tempera on vellum, 1' 1" X 9 1/2".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5th century, the Celts of Ireland readily convert to Christianity
  • Christianized without first being Romanized
  • Very little Greco-Roman influence in their art
  • But the hallmarks of the animal style are present
 
Monasticism introduced into Ireland by St. Patrick
  • Monasticism seems to have particularly appealed to the Irish
  • Roman Church poorly suited to rural lifestyle
  • Examples of desert saints of Egypt and the Near East who left the temptations of city centers to seek spiritual perfection and solitude appealed to the Irish
 
 
High Cross of Muirdech, Monasterboice, Ireland, 923. Sandstone, 18' high.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Irish became the spiritual and cultural leaders of the early Middle Ages through the missionary work of the monks
 
Plan of the Abbey of Saint Gall c. 817
Saint Matthew from the Lindisfarne Gospels, England, ca. 698 - 721.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"At the same time that powerful Merovingian, Anglo-Saxon, and Scandinavian warlords were amassing artworks dominated by abstract and animal motifs, Christian missionaries were establishing monasteries in northern Europe and sponsoring artworks of Christian content. The early medieval art of these monasteries, however, differs dramatically from contemporarneous works produced in Italy and the Byzantine Empire. These Christian artworks are among the most distinctive ever created and testify to the fruitful fusion of native and imported artistic traditions." - Janson's
 
 
 
 
Lindisfarne Gospels Cover, from Northumbria, England, ca. 698 - 721. Tempera on vellum, 13 1/2" X 9 1/4".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cross-inscribed carpet page, from the Lindisfarne Gospels, from Northumbria, England, ca. 698 - 721.
Tempera on vellum, 13 1/2" X 9 1/4".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Animal Style Influences:
  • Strong interest in decorative abstraction
  • Little interest in depicting narrative events
  • Fantastic beasts
  • Serpentine interlace
Man (symbol of Saint Matthew), folio 21 verso of the Book of Durrow, possibly from Iona, Scotland, ca. 660 - 680. Ink and tempera on parchment, 9 5/8" X 6 1/8".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chi-rho-iota (XPI) page from the Book of Kells, probably from Iona, Scotland,
late 8th or early 9th century. Tempera on vellum, 1' 1" X 9 1/2".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Complaints written by monks found in the margins of illuminated manuscripts:
"This parchment is hairy."
"Thank God, it will soon be light."
"New parchment, bad ink; I will say nothing more."
"Now I’ve written the whole thing: for Christ’s sake give me a drink."
"St. Patrick of Armagh, deliver me from writing."
Chi-rho-iota (XPI) page from the Book of Kells, probably from Iona, Scotland, late 8th or early 9th century. Tempera on vellum, 1' 1" X 9 1/2".