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.
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.
Codice Stivini - Inventory of the possessions of Isabella d'Este Gonzaga
Genealogy of the d'Este Princes
Modena, Biblioteca Estense Universitaria, a.L.5.16 = Ital. 720
Rome, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, Fondo Vitt. Emanuele n. 293, cc. i-8-ii
Lisbon, Museu Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, L.A. 149
Zagreb, Strossmayerova Galerija, nn. 339-352
Treasures from the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana - Litterae
Treasures from the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana - Biblica (Collection)
Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Individual leaves from different manuscripts
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry
Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS lat. 919
Paris, Musée du Louvre, RF 2835
Rerum Medicarum Novae Hispaniae Thesaurus
Rome, Biblioteca dell'Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei e Corsiniana, Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Archivio Linceo n. 31