"Here you may see the face of majesty, divinely drawn, here the mystic symbols of the Evangelists. . . . You will make out intricacies, so delicate and subtle, so exact and compact, so full of knots and links, with colours so fresh and vivid, that you might say that all this was the work of an angel, and not of a man." — Giraldus Cambrensis, Topographia Hiberniae, ca. 1185"Here you may see the face of majesty, divinely drawn, here the mystic symbols of the Evangelists. . . . You will make out intricacies, so delicate and subtle, so exact and compact, so full of knots and links, with colours so fresh and vivid, that you might say that all this was the work of an angel, and not of a man." — Giraldus Cambrensis, Topographia Hiberniae, ca. 1185.Gerald of Wales wrote his ecstatic description of what is most probably the Book of Kells 800 years ago, some 300 years after the work appeared. It remains the best description; he felt and conveyed the Book's power, the mystery that made it even then unique among early medieval manuscripts.While clearly subject to international influence (Celtic, British, Norman; possibly Italian, Byzantine, and Coptic), the Book of Kells' painters and scribes illumined their work with a purely idiosyncratic beauty. The Book of Kells is more an icon than a typical evangelistary; indeed, the Saint Jerome text of the gospels is frequently corrupt or carelessly rendered, so intent were the artists on their ornament and iconography.One may still see the glorious ornament on display at Trinity College, Dublin; a more accessible version is this, newly reproduced from a rare facsimile edition. Thirty-two full-page, full-color plates have been selected and painstakingly printed to retain the ineffable handpainted impression of the original leaves. All the full-page decorations, portraits, and illustrations are included, as well as a representative sampling of the textual leaves, in their graceful Insular (half-uncial) calligraphy, interspersed and initialed with an imaginative, fanciful, and even humorous bestiary of lions, lambs, eagles, otters, cats, dragons, birds, fish, and snakes; strange men are seen in the cross-armed Osiris position, entwined in lion's tails, snakes, vines, and peacock feathers. The interlacing and spiraling follow the Insular tradition; in botanical ornament the Book stands apart from that school. The illustrations include vital specimens of Western art: the first image of the Virgin and Child in a Western manuscript, and numerous early representations of the Apocalyptic visionary symbols of the Evangelists; symbols that lost their eeriness in later, diluted form, but that in the Book of Kells, according to one scholar, "retain their wild, unearthly quality. They are perhaps the most striking element in the decoration of the Book."Perusers of this Book, casual and serious students of art, religion, or Western culture, will echo Giraldus, who wrote: "For my part, the oftener I see the book, and the more carefully I study it, the more I am lost in ever fresh amazement, and I see more and more wonders in the book."...
|Title||:||The Book of Kells: Selected Plates in Full Color|
|Number of Pages||:||32 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Book of Kells: Selected Plates in Full Color Reviews
Yesterday, we visited the Book of Kells exhibition at Trinity College, Dublin. The book was indeed impressive and beautiful, but I liked even more the poem Pangur Bán, originally written in 9th century Irish by an unknown monk, on a copy of St Paul's Epistles. Robin Flower's translation:I and Pangur Bán, my cat 'Tis a like task we are at; Hunting mice is his delight Hunting words I sit all night.Better far than praise of men 'Tis to sit with book and pen; Pangur bears me no ill will, He too plies his simple skill.'Tis a merry thing to see At our tasks how glad are we, When at home we sit and find Entertainment to our mind.Oftentimes a mouse will stray In the hero Pangur's way: Oftentimes my keen thought set Takes a meaning in its net.'Gainst the wall he sets his eye Full and fierce and sharp and sly; 'Gainst the wall of knowledge I All my little wisdom try.When a mouse darts from its den, O how glad is Pangur then! O what gladness do I prove When I solve the doubts I love!So in peace our tasks we ply, Pangur Bán, my cat, and I; In our arts we find our bliss, I have mine and he has his.Practice every day has made Pangur perfect in his trade; I get wisdom day and night Turning darkness into light.
Saw this at my local used book store and immediately picked it up to buy. I've heard a lot about the Book of Kells but actually don't really know anything. Seeing photos of the book, now I can understand what the fuss is all about. From 800 A.D. It's BEAUTIFUL!
The reproductions could be better, but I don't know of a better way to otherwise study this magnificent book.
Illuminated manuscripts are wonderful things...