Tuesday, 5 April 2011

The Book of Kells and The Book of Lindisfarne

The Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin, containing the four Gospels  of the New Testament together with various prefatory texts and tables. It was created by Celtic monks ca. 800 or slightly earlier.

It is a masterwork of Western calligraphy and represents the pinnacle of Insular illumination. It is also widely regarded as Ireland's finest national treasure.

The illustrations and ornamentation of the Book of Kells surpass that of other Insular Gospel books in extravagance and complexity. The decoration combines traditional Christian iconography with the ornate swirling motifs typical of Insular art. Figures of humans, animals and mythical beasts, together with Celtic knots and interlacing patterns in vibrant colours, enliven the manuscript's pages. Many of these minor decorative elements are imbued with Christian symbolism and so further emphasise the themes of the major illustrations.

The Lindisfarne Gospels is an illuminated Latin manuscript of the gospels in the British Library. The manuscript was produced on Lindisfarne in Northumbria in the late 7th century or early 8th century, and is generally regarded as the finest example of the kingdom's unique style of religious art, a style that combined Anglo-Saxon and Celtic themes, what is now called Hiberno-Saxon art, or Insular art.

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