The History of Art And The Curious Lives of Famous Painters



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Carolingian Manuscript Illumination

Under Charles the Bald, Carolingian illumination reached its highest point of excellence. The most important scriptoriums were the Tours, Rheims, and Metz monasteries. The style has its roots in the Lombard-Saxon style.

  Principal features of Carolingian Manuscript Illumination

intertwining bands and knots

classical botanical elements

beardless figures

finely written minuscule, mainly Saxon, script

 capitals and columns of classic origin

ornamental details

sumptuous rich silver and gold leaf

 architectural details in the Roman manner

Masterworks of Carolingian Illumination

Vivien Bible

The Golden Gospels of St. Médard of Soissons

Alcuin Bible

shivering style related to manuscript illumination

Ebbo Gospels. St. Matthew, done in the Shivering Style, c. 824 illuminated Gospel Book, from the Carolingian Era. 

Carolingian manuscripts are masterpieces of art. Combing a variety of artistic influences. According to author J. Henry Middleton, "One important characteristic of the Carolingian manuscripts is their extreme splendour. The freely used burnished gold is often made more magnificent by the contrast of no less brilliant silver. Purple-stained vellum was largely used, and all the pigments are of the most gorgeous hues that great technical skill could produce. And yet in spite of all this magnificence of shining metals and bright colours the effect is never harsh or gaudy, owing to the taste and judgment shown by the illuminators in the way they broke up their colours, avoiding large unrelieved masses, and in the arrangement of the colours so as to give a general effect of harmony in spite of the great chromatic force of the separate parts."

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ref - Art Principles With Special Reference to Painting Together with Notes on the Illusions Produced by the Painter by Ernest Govett