Painting the Page in the Age of Print: Central European Manuscript Illumination of the Fifteenth Century
Studies and Texts 208; Text Image Context: Studies in Medieval Manuscript Illumination 4 • 2018 • xxxiv + 330 pp. • ISBN 978-0-88844-208-6 • Cloth • $110
The history of the book in the late Middle Ages is associated especially with Gutenberg’s momentous invention of printing with movable type. Printing, however, hardly replaced the manuscript book overnight; in respect to content, materials, format, decoration, dissemination, and technique, the fifteenth century in German-speaking lands witnessed an extraordinary range of innovation and experimentation. Nonetheless, over a century of scholarship has tended to dismiss the illuminated manuscripts produced in central Europe between 1400 and the Reformation, the vast majority of them unknown beyond a small group of specialists, as mediocre manifestations of a culture in decline. This book – originally published in German to accompany a series of exhibitions in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland from 2015 to 2017 – was written to challenge these prejudices and the weight of tradition they represent.