Penned and Painted : The Art & Meaning of Books in Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts
Lucy Freeman Sandler
FREEMAN SANDLER Lucy, 2022, Penned and Painted : The Art & Meaning of Books in Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts, Londres, British Library Publishing.
Penned & Painted is a beautifully produced, large format book in which one of the most celebrated historians of medieval art surveys one of the world’s great collections and asks ‘what is a medieval book ?’.
The idea of the book was central throughout the western European and the eastern Mediterranean world in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. From the beginning, the word for ‘book’— sefer in Hebrew, biblia in Greek, and liber in Latin — was identified with sacred writings — the Holy Scriptures of Jews and Christians, who were known as ‘people of the book’.
The centrality of the book to medieval thought is reflected materially in the countless images of books that appear in the manuscripts of the era, be they in the most treasured, highly decorated, sacred texts or in devotional and secular works as well. In Penned & Painted, Lucy Freeman Sandler, one of one of the world’s most respected authorities on medieval art, takes us on a personal but highly insightful exploration of some of the British Library’s most precious manuscript holdings and describes the many uses and meanings of these ‘books in books’.
Through the fascinating face-to-face discovery of 60 manuscripts, she investigates the various types and forms of books as depicted in the era. How were they produced and what did they look like ? What do they tell us of the lives and skills of the scribes and illuminators ? What did these books record and signify ? How were they displayed, consumed and how did some of these objects of supreme beauty even come to be wantonly destroyed ? Penned & Painted is presented in full-colour throughout and includes a high number of images specially photographed for this volume.