Taking a closer look at medieval manuscript art.

The number of hi-resolution images of medieval manuscripts available on line has grown exponentially making it possible to admire the broadest collection of manuscripts ever imagined. On this site, I collect details from these images, highlighting the fine detailed brush and pen work, but also some of the curious and beautiful thematic scenes.

For the full effect, it is worth taking the time to click inside each of the blog posts to see the enlarged images. Some images may be seen even larger with right-click > View image.

The first time I stepped into the manuscript reading room of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (some thirty years ago), I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of manuscripts in that single impressive repository. To appreciate those documents, however, it was necessary to visit the reading room, as only a very small fraction was available in printed reproductions. In my own humble attempt to bring a few manuscripts to light, I had received permission to photograph and to distribute on line. Circulation started as an ftp distribution site in 1993 (before the web browsers were commonly available), but converted to a web site shortly thereafter (DScriptorium). Now, rather than continue to build a meager collection there, I prefer to record here my perambulations through the vast global library. A breadcrumb trail of my experience with the beautiful art from the middle ages.

Jesse Hurlbut
I regularly announce updates on twitter @jessehurlbut.