Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Illuminated Manuscript

Also known as the illuminated text, this art form was popular between 400 and 600 AD in the Roman Empire. Painted on vellum, the most common examples featured a single large initial letter, sometimes two-thirds the height of the paper or stone canvas. Borders were ornate and often repetitious. The illustrations of the text helped the common illiterate peasants to get the gist of the words by simply looking at the pictures.

For this assignment, I gave the students a week to find a Bible verse to depict. The instructions:

1. It should be a fairly short verse for the size paper we were using.
2. The initial letter must be quite large.
3. The illustration should "illuminate" the text by showing what the verse is about.
4. They had to have a repeating border, and could free-hand it or use either the roller kind of rubber stamp or repeating a single stamp all the way around.
5. The entire paper had to be filled with color. No "vellum" showing. (We used lightweight, pale yellow paper.)
6. They were to use a mix of crayon and marker.
7. The font should be fancy.
8. Complete the assignment in one class period.

The students love this project (especially the rubber stamps) and I was really pleased with the finished projects. I particularly like the way the student illustrated the verse "Jesus wept." If you look closely, you'll see that it shows teardrops falling from the top of the J, and the bottom part of the J is a pool of tears. Week after week I stand in awe of the creativity in children. I love my job!


Danielle said...

Great project! Now everyone should go to the Walters Art Museum and see some "real" ones in person!! (wink wink)

Zoanna said...

We are planning a field trip there! My only hesitation taking students to an art gallery is steering their eyes away from all the nudies!

Anonymous said...

Wow! I love these! I scrolled down and saw the paintings too. Lovely! Merry Christmas Eve Eve!

Laurie said...

Bravo! Inspirational! I love illuminated text! (I didn't know that's what it was called.)
I may choose "Peace be still!" as an illuminated text these days!