Renaissance Manuscript Illumination

Great artistic achievements in sculpture, painting, and architecture during the Renaissance movement often overshadow the beauty of impeccable manuscript illumination that also flourished at the time. These captivating works of art in miniature were carefully crafted using vibrant colors, as well as stunning gold leaf, that adorned both secular and ecclesiastical manuscripts.

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Imparting emotion through art − whether via illuminated manuscripts, paintings or sculpture − was key to Renaissance artists and writers. Because of a growing demand for secular manuscripts, choir books and devotional texts, the painstaking but rewarding task of manuscript illumination had broadened from monastic scribes and illuminators to include "popular" artists and "writing apprentices". The Renaissance was the last great era of manuscript illumination and of hand-crafted books before the invention of movable type − the printing press would forever change book production and history as a whole.

Famous Renaissance artworks

The contributions of illuminators throughout the Renaissance are notable for the passionate way they expressed emotion through their craft. A few of the world's finest and most memorable illuminated manuscripts are listed below.

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