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The Value of Illuminated Manuscripts and How They Are Created

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When creating an illuminated manuscript, it is created in stages starting with the parchmenter, the stationary or bookseller, the apothecary, the scribe, scripts, the artist or illuminator, and then returns to stationary or bookseller. They are created in that specific order. The first step is the Parchmenter. Parchment is made from animal skin and the person who turns animal into parchment is the parchmenter. The animal skins used came from young calves, sheep, or cows. Animal skins are used to create the pages or leaves of a medieval manuscript. The animal skin had to be soaked and scraped clean of all hair. The most luxurious materials that could be used for an illuminated manuscript were gold, and vellum.

The next step is the bookseller. This is where you place an order to buy a book. The bookseller supplies the vellum and gold leaf. The bookseller then has to trim the vellum into four rectangles of equal size that layer inside the other. This forms a gathering. The bookseller then contacts scribes and illuminators to contract a job for the illuminated manuscript. The next step is the apothecary. The apothecary was the person who had to prepare the raw materials like plants, stones, and insects to make paint. The illuminator had to purchase the raw materials from the Apothecary. The raw materials then get crushed them into a powder form. The powder gets mixed with egg to make a liquid paint. The next step the illuminated manuscript had to go through was the scribe. The job of a scribe was to copy exact text from a manuscript. Before copying the text, the scribe had to use a pointed instrument, to poke tiny holes through the vellum that were the guide for ruling. Blank spaces were left for margin, paintings, and capital letters. Using a quill pen the scribe copied the text from the manuscript. The next step was medieval scripts. The term “script” is used to refer to the handwriting in medieval manuscripts. There were different variations like the speed and care with which the letters were formed, the number of space-saving devices, such as abbreviations. The way the pen was cut, and the type and quality of other writing materials also affected the appearance of the script.

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Next step was the illuminator. An illuminated manuscript is made with gold and has pages that light up. The gold leaf was made by hitting gold until it becomes really flat pages. The gold then has to be applied to the vellum. To make light reflect off gold it had to be polished with a smooth stone. The areas that needed to be illuminated were painted with gesso. After that sheets of gold leaf were placed over the gesso. once the gesso was dry the extra gold was cautiously removed with a brush. It was then polished to a shine. The illuminator then had to paint small pictures and uppercase letters. The decorated letters indicated the start of a new paragraph while the miniatures showed the text. This was important because many people during the medieval time could not read. The Last step was the stationer or bookseller. When the manuscript was complete, it was returned to the bookseller to get bindings. The bookseller had to clean up the leaves and assemble them in the correct order. He then gathered the pages together into a folded book. The groups of folded pages were sewn together. The wood boards of the book were covered with leather and clasps that would hold the book tightly shut to protect the Leaves.

There are several types of illuminated manuscripts like Romanesque, Gothic, and Carolingian. Romanesque illuminated manuscripts featured a diversity of realistic and imaginary beings. The illuminated manuscripts featured textured or gold background and historic initials. These initials were found at the beginning of a new chapter. The initial of an opening word featured greenery, figures or images explaining a some of the text. These initials were used more than a full-page illustration. Full-page illustrations could sometimes cover the length of the page. Gothic illuminated manuscripts used smaller books that were gentle. There was fewer text on each page, with empty spaces being filled with decorated bars. Illustrations were sometimes shared with the pages borders. The borders sometimes displayed sketches. Initials were smaller, and illustrations could be found at the bottom of text pages. Decorated scrolls used ivy leaves which were a feature of many Gothic manuscripts. Carolingian illuminated manuscripts were made for the upper class and for religion. Caroline manuscripts were written in Caroline miniscule text and were more classical in style. They sometimes had sections that were written in gold or silver ink on vellum that was purple. The illuminations displayed a combination of two-dimensional decorations and figures were three dimensional.

The medieval times was a great period for art. It showed how art is different throughout culture and time periods but is almost always borrowed from previous time periods. Illuminated manuscripts had precise designs and did a lot for the medieval people who could not read. It gave them religion and history of historical events. Even today illuminated manuscripts are still being looked at and appreciated by people around the world.

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