Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Getty Museum Medieval book exhibition celebrates the importance of touch and the hand

Unknown, Saint Mark, about 1120 - 1140 (detail). Tempera colors, gold, and silver on parchment. 22.9 x 16.5 cm. 83.MB.67.51v. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Ms. Ludwig II 3, fol. 51v.
CALIFORNIA---Today, rare medieval manuscripts are viewed from a respectful distance in climate-controlled cases, protected from human touch. But, in their day, they were tangible, tactile objects that were handled – reverently, carelessly, perhaps even obsessively – by their owners, and were themselves the culmination of painstaking human craftsmanship. "Touching the Past: The Hand and the Medieval Book," an exhibition drawn largely from the Getty Museum’s remarkable collection of manuscripts, explores the importance of the hand (manus in Latin) in the creation and use of manuscripts that were a part of their readers’ daily lives. [link]