Comprising 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.
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!
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.
The entire manuscript has been digitized and is available on the British Library’s website here.
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.
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!
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.
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”.]
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.
Carl Pyrdum of Got Medieval (with a little help from Mario) makes a clever argument for the illustration of gravity in the margins of medieval manuscripts:
In order to keep the man and his goat in the middle from falling right on through the bottom of the page, the artist draws in little patches of ground beneath them. Mario, no stranger to platforms that hang in the air as if bolted to the background, would feel right at home with this arrangement.
See the original blog post here.
Three new online image resources from the Index of Christian Art are now available. The first two listed below provide high resolution images for scholarly publications upon request, free of charge.
Romanesque Art Collection
The first of these is a database of some six thousand images of medieval (mainly Romanesque) art taken by a Swiss couple who wish to remain anonymous. The collection of digitized slides covers Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and The Netherlands, and includes many lesser-known sites as well as the more familiar. Most of the images are of sculpture, architecture, or wall paintings. The collection opens with frescoes from the Chapel of Saint Leonard in Naunders, Austria and closes with Amsoldingen Church in Switzerland.
The Lois Drewer Database
When she died some five months ago Lois Drewer left the Index of Christian Art a large and unsorted collection of several thousand slides covering many countries she visited throughout her lifetime. Her wide interest in art and architecture is reflected in this collection — not surprisingly called The Lois Drewer Database — which spans landscape and garden design, to archaeological sites in the Near East, to Romanesque and Gothic architecture, to a considerable focus on Renaissance architecture. Her travels brought her to Austria, Crete, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Libya, the Netherlands, Spain, Syria, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.
Gabriel Millet Collection
The third resource, and certainly the most ambitious of the three, is the first installment of images from a collaborative venture the Index entered into with the Bibliothèque Gabriel Millet in the Sorbonne, Paris. This is to catalogue the entire archive of Byzantine art that was first started in 1903. As it presently stands, the database contains nearly all of the slides (approximately 15,000) in the archive and these provide an unrivalled visual record of Byzantine art, particularly manuscripts, but with wall paintings and other media included as well.
Via the International Center of Medieval Art newsletter.