I finally made it over to the Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University to see their marvelous exhibition of some of the illuminated manuscripts that were taken from the Vatican to Toledo, Spain during Napoleon’s occupation of Rome.
What a blessing that these books–some of them from the early Middle Ages–were saved and preserved in all their original beauty and splendor! The details, the colors, and the gold leafing were so vivid, almost as if the books were brand new.
The artistry and imagination that went into them is truly mind-blowing. Part of the exhibition was a short film about how manuscripts were made–how animal skins were turned into vellum, how inks and quills were made and used, how the writing was done so neatly, how the books were bound and ornamented. I can’t even imagine doing such work by hand.
Among many other things, I got to see an early 15th-century Dominican breviary, made for a community of nuns. The illumination that was displayed included a little picture of St. Dominic handing books to some nuns.
If you are in or near Dallas, you really should visit the exhibition if you haven’t already! It runs through April 23. Click the banner for more info.