September 28 to December 15, 2013
Illumination owes its origins to the beginning of the Christian era, when calligraphers wanted to glorify the Word of God by enhancing designs, capital letters and images. This desire gave birth to the profession of illuminator. The word has its source in the Latin illuminare (to light up or illuminate).
Essentially religious in the beginning, because it was practised by monks decorating various forms of the codex (the Bible, Psalter, Book of Hours etc.), the art of illumination spread into the secular world, around the same time as the great cathedrals started to make their appearance.
In due course, princes, bishops and merchants started to appreciate the splendour and beauty of these illustrated texts and soon they wanted to incorporate illuminatory images on other documents – chronicles (i.e. of historical events), bestiaries, tales of chivalry and so on – so they encouraged the establishment of specialized studios for non-members of the clergy.
An heir to the tradition of the monks and the studio painters of yesteryear, illumination today strives to reproduce the standards of those early artists by respecting their finely crafted work with a love and passion for design and color, recalling the splendour of this art, now being born again.