The arts of the book are of central importance for the art history of the Latin-speaking world of medieval Europe. This project aims to establish a new approach to this field of research. In the early and high Middle Ages, decorated books were created not as neutral storage devices to secure texts meant for reading, but as sacred objects. The distinctive decoration of the books used both in the liturgy and for private piety is characterized by the use of precious materials, and the different modes of evoking such materials on the body of the book. The appearance of this decoration shapes the surface textures of sacred scriptures on the outer covers as well as on the inscribed and illuminated pages within the books.


Image Credit: University of Manchester, The John Rylands Library, Latin MS 98, fol. 154r