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Archive for the 'Medieval' Category

The Icons of Mount Sinai

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Princeton University, in collaboration with the University of Michigan and the University of Alexandria, have announced the launch of a website documenting icons from the Monastery of Saint Catherine at Mount Sinai.

The icons were documented and photographed on expeditions led by Kurt Weitzmann from Princeton University and George Forsyth from the University of Michigan from 1956 to 1965. Princeton University now holds the color photographs taken of the icons and have digitized them, making them available for viewing. Currently, the website displays about 1,200 transparencies, with another 2,000 in the works.

The images are the copyrighted property of the Regents of the University of Michigan and the Trustees of Princeton University, but can be freely used for  classroom projection, display on computer monitors, and use in class assignments. The images cannot be published without permission, but requesting permission can be easily done through the website.


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Interactive “Garden of Earthly Delights”

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This year marks the 500th anniversary of the death of Hieronymus Bosch, the Netherlandish painter best known for his painting “The Garden of Earthly Delights.” And thanks to the work of a group of art historians, film-makers, and photographers, one no longer needs to travel to the Prado Museum in Spain to get a good look at this amazing painting!

Described as an “online interactive adventure,” the site  allows viewers to either freely move around the painting, zooming on details or take a guided tour. Additionally, there are some 40 recorded audio essays throughout the painting. Click on an icon, and you can zoom into a detail and listen to an explanation of what’s depicted and how it relates to the work overall.

In addition to the interactive painting, there is also a new app allowing viewers to see the garden in “virtual reality.” Bosch VR, produced by BDH Design agency, allows viewer to move through the garden by viewing the painting on an iPad or on an iPhone or Android phone using Google Cardboard.

Google Cardboard viewers are available for use from the VRC during normal operating hours.

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Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 8.55.31 AMComprising a website, a traveling exhibition, and book, Qantara is a very rich and interesting resource for studying the cultural heritage of the Mediterranean from Late Antiquity to the 18th century. The website contains over 1500 entries from Western Europe, Byzantium, and Islamic regions that include objects, sites, and monuments. The material can be searched using various intersections such as materials, subjects, or historical period. Each entry has descriptive metadata (size, media, discovery and repository information), a short descriptive essay, and a bibliography.

There are repositories and cultural heritage institutions from nine countries involved in Qantara, and the information has been reviewed by over 200 experts including curators, historians, and researchers.

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French Cathedrals in the Lantern Slide Collection


The Visual Resources Center recently added a beautiful group of French medieval cathedrals to the publicly available Lantern Slide Collection. These images are some of the finest examples of large format architectural photography in the collection. We continue to add images to the Luna collection on a regular basis, so check back in to see what’s new!

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CT Scan of Medieval Manuscript

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Recently, the British Library did a CT Scan of the St. Cuthbert Gospel, one of the oldest European manuscripts, dating to the 8th Century. An explanation of the process of scanning the manuscript can be found on the British Library’s website. Once the manuscript was scanned, along with a facsimile used for comparison, the data was processed in a program called “Drishti,” which allows for exploring and visualizing vast amount of data (above).

From the scans, researchers discovered that the central motif on the binding was made using a clay-like material, rather than gesso or cord as had previously been thought.

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The entire manuscript has been digitized and is available on the British Library’s website here.

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Medieval Manuscripts Alive

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The Getty’s online magazine The Getty Iris has launched the series Medieval Manuscripts Alive, which features expert speakers reading the languages of the Middle Ages from centuries-old books. It aims to bring the manuscripts’ accompanying illuminations to life through sound.  Each reading is accompanied by a translation into English and a brief description of the relationship between the text and image. In collaboration with the British Library’s Language & Literature audio collection, the Getty’s manuscripts collection will soon be heard in 15 languages, including Coptic, Ge’ez, Arabic and more.

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LibGuide for Medieval & Byzantine Studies


The University of Chicago Library publishes a variety of research guides created by subject specialists online, and one of them may be useful to scholars of Medieval and Byzantine art and culture. The LibGuide for Medieval and Byzantine Studies provides a list of print and digital resources from an interdisciplinary perspective, including art history, the history of science and technology, and literature.

For more information, explore the LibGuide for Medieval & Byzantine Studies. Feel free to get in touch with the VRC if you want help finding or making images related to your research!

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Index of Christian Art & Image Resources

ICA Additional Resources

Princeton University’s Index of Christian Art recently added a new collection to its Additional Resources section, an image collection called “The Lois Drewer Calendar of Saints in Byzantine Manuscripts and Frescos.”

This collection joins 12 others that include a variety of topics and media, including manuscripts, decorative arts, and paintings.

For more information, visit the Index of Christian Art and their Additional Resources.

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The Book of Kells for iPad

The Book of Kells was released as an iPad app last Friday, November 16. The app contains all 680 surviving pages of the manuscript as well as other special features and content. It is intended to replace previous electronic reproductions of the manuscript which had been released on DVD-ROM and CD-ROM.

The app features the entire manuscript in high resolution, with 21 pages viewable at up to 6 times their actual size and categories of decorative themes that users can browse through including letters, animals, and other symbols.

You can also stop by the VRC anytime to check out the “eBook of Kells” app! Best of all, the app can be projected from the iPad for use in classrooms and presentations.

For more information, view the Book of Kells website or the iTunes app store.

[Images: The Book of Kells, folio 7v and 8r, and an image group of initial letters for the letter “A”.]


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Grand Opening: On the Edge Exhibition

Commentary on the Gospel of John, folio 141 verso; Man and Bear Enchained, Tours, Bibliothèque Municipale Ms. 291

This weekend marks the grand opening of the exhibition On the Edge: Medieval Margins and the Margins of Academic Life. It will be on display at the University of Chicago Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery. The grand opening celebration will take place on Monday, May 21st from 5-7pm, with the curator’s introduction to the exhibit at 6pm. Refreshments will be served and the celebration is open to the public.

This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the publication of Image on the Edge: The Margins of Medieval Art (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1992) by University of Chicago art history professor Michael Camille (1958-2002), a work that looks at the playful and parodic images in the margins of illuminated manuscripts. Inspired by Camille’s work, the exhibition explores the symmetry between medieval margins and the modern margins of academic life.  Camille studied the uncommon: the strange, remarkable, and extraordinary images at the edges of the medieval world, bringing to light to the confluence of the serious and the playful, the sacred and the profane. The serious and the playful also converge at the University of Chicago, and “On the Edge” features medieval manuscript marginalia paired with student photographs that capture the margins of campus life. The photographs show what happens outside of the classroom at the University, highlighting quintessential traditions such as the Scavenger Hunt.

“On the Edge” invites viewers to contemplate the juxtaposition of manuscripts and photographs of campus life, to compare one margin to another, and to discover how the medieval resonates with the modern.

On the Edge will be on view from May 19 – August 10, 2012.

More information is available here.

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