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Fighting a Pandemic with Stories, in 14th-century Italy

Seven hundred years ago during the Black Plague, one of the fathers of European literature taught the world a unique way to survive during a lockdown: telling each other humorous and extravagant stories. The work soon became acclaimed and inspired a magnificent French manuscript.

On the history of Illuminated Manuscripts and their Facsimiles

boccaccio-s-decameron

Fighting a Pandemic with Stories, in 14th-century Italy

Seven hundred years ago during the Black Plague, one of the fathers of European literature taught the world a unique way to survive during a lockdown: telling each other humorous and extravagant stories. The work soon became acclaimed and inspired a magnificent French manuscript.

Lindisfarne Gospels: a 13-century-old Masterpiece

Dear fellow book lovers, why don't you "Take a Break from the Present" and watch us leaf through illuminated manuscripts from past centuries? Let's start with the Lindisfarne Gospels, one of the series' highlights. If you want to know more about this manuscript, read on!

Tale of Genji

Seven Reasons to Fall for Japanese Illustrated Scrolls

Innumerable facial expressions, the birth of manga, sparkles of silver and gold, ancient magical legends…There are thousands of reasons to love the picture scrolls made in the land of the rising sun. Here are ours.

Detail of the Bodmer VIII Papyrus

The Mysteries Surrounding an Early Christian Papyrus

In 1952, a millennia-old papyrus containing the Epistles of St. Peter was discovered in Egypt. We know that it was written in Greek by several hands, but many more questions remain unanswered.

Detail of the Holkham Bible

A “Pop Bible” for a Lay Audience

You don't need to understand Anglo-French biblical verses to read this bible: written and illuminated in the 14th century, the codex features dozens of powerful illustrations.

Detail of the Medici Aesop

Fabled Manuscripts

It is hard to tell who Aesop really was, but hundreds of generations have read his Fables. And in 15th-century Italy, a group of prominent painters illustrated many of his tales in a lavish manuscript.

Detail of the Da Costa Hours

Feasting Around the Table in Centuries Past

Did you know that ancient cooking manuals contained humor and parody? Or why Dante called one of his poems "The Banquet"? Take a peek in the kitchens and dining rooms of bygone centuries!