Black Hours, a small manuscript written and illuminated on vellum that is stained or painted black
From the late Middle Ages to the early Renaissance, the Book of Hours, filled with groups of prayers designed for use by lay people, was more in demand than the Bible itself. Though the texts differed, at the heart of all these popular manuscripts was the Hours of the Virgin, a sequence of prayers to the Mother of God meant to be recited at various times throughout the entire day. Also contributing to the books’ popularity were their brilliant illuminations, paintings meant to inspire reflection and devotion. There could be anywhere from perhaps a dozen in some books to thousands of illuminations in manuscripts created for wealthy patrons.
Roger S. Wieck, Melvin R. Seiden curator and department head of Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts at the Morgan Library and Museum, explores the textual and pictorial riches to be found within the pages of these fascinating books.
World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit*
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