The medieval manuscript is, by its very nature, a medium of reproduction. This digital exhibition explores illuminated manuscripts through print and digital copies.
November 18, 2020 – May 15, 2021
From the earliest book-making workshops (or scriptoria) of the Middle Ages to the specialty publishers that produce luxury replicas today, the process of copying has defined the art of the book. Whether painted by hand, printed from a press, or captured in photography, facsimiles bring manuscripts to wide audiences even when the originals are too fragile for regular handling.
This student-curated exhibition for the University Art Gallery (UAG) explores illuminated manuscripts through print and digital copies, with a focus on the University of Pittsburgh’s outstanding facsimile collection. Rare and collectible books in their own right, these lavish copies are designed to reproduce the look and feel of their inaccessible models as closely as possible. In a time when most of our interactions happen online, handling and manipulating the books offered a rare experience: one rooted in the physical dynamics of the turning page. Facsimiles do not replace originals, nor do they reproduce them with perfect authenticity. Instead, they invite us in to see the books from new perspectives, to become curious, to turn the pages, and to learn.
The exhibition highlights new acquisitions in the University Library System (ULS) made possible in part from the Jewish Studies Course Development Grant.
Curated by the students of HAA1019 (Spring 2020) and HAA1022 (Fall 2020).
Supported by The Fine Foundation.
Special thanks to the University Library System (ULS) at the University of Pittsburgh, especially our colleagues in Archives & Special Collections, the Frick Fine Arts Library, the Theodore M. Finney Music Library, and in Technical Services.