Saturday, March 21, 2009

Hand Drawn Bible Infuses the Word with Spirit

The Walters Museum in Baltimore is hosting an exhibit that
gives every graphic designer a reason to take heart.

Baltimore—This winter the Walters Art Museum will offer many programs in conjunction with the exhibition of The Saint John’s Bible: A Modern Vision through Medieval Methods. On view Feb. 15 through May 24, 2009, this exhibition will feature 44 pages from a contemporary, illuminated Bible set alongside approximately 49 manuscripts and rare books from the Walters’ permanent collection.
Sharky says...
The divine hand of man is made manifest in this modern illuminated version of the Catholic Bible. Luddites may now revel in this visual celebration of handwritten sacred verse. Coupled with post-modern reinvention of the visual iconography, the effort is as invigorating and soothing as a balm.

The exhibition is a lovingly documented view into the rigorous process followed in the the bible's assemblage. Commissioned in 2000 by The Saint John's University, Minnesota. The project was conceived as a bible for the new millennium. The accompanying film presentation is the best way to begin the journey into the world of liturgical manuscript illumination. The exacting details are spelled out and one realizes that this was high tech in the Middle Ages.

Besides being a presentation of the work from the new bible; it is an examination of the culture and tradition that surrounds illumination of sacred texts.

There is a fascinating description accompanying one spectacularly utilitarian ancient torah, explaining that the name of God could not be written but was respresented by a single dot of ink on the parchment.

That single dot could not be placed until the scribe had been immersed in a ritual cleansing bath. Once that lone dot was positioned a second ritual ablution was required.

A unique typeface was designed and the film details thought processes that went into the arrival of the visually crisp graceful expression of modern day type engineering.

The variety of sacred tests on display are engrossing and project the respect for awe of the the written word. Humanism is strongly projected through the diverse spiritual illuminations. The very tenacity of spirit needed on this arduous project is an affirmation of the potential value and goodness of human beings.

Go see this exhibit! It allows The Bible to be seen as the rich trove of poetic literature and beautiful imagery we all knew it was meant to be. Calling all designers, print or web to
revere the tradition that is the root of modern day publishing design.


© Copyright 2009 Guy Arceneaux All rights reserved

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave me a comment, I'd like to know what you think!