Sunday, September 06, 2009

Details: Illuminations from the Book of Kells

I have always had a personal interest in early Irish art, as well as those arts sometimes termed "Celtic" which includes that which is beyond Ireland itself. Speaking personally, I think particularly of the forms and designs seen in numerous precious manuscripts as well as the monumental crosses. It was something that, more than a decade ago, I had privately studied in some detail. While it has been some while since then, it is still a strong point of interest and I thought it might be good to feature here again as part of our "details" series.

While there are various aspects of these traditions that are of great interest, the "zoomorphic" aspect has always personally struck me as particularly rich and intriguing. Zoomorphics here relate to the creation of patterns and designs using animal imagery. This might be found in the forms of letters, interlaced designs and so on.

But generally speaking, whether through zoomorphics, through more basic knotwork and complex spiral designs, through human figures and other symbols employed, not to mention the rich use of colour, it presents itself as a particularly rich tradition.

Here are just a few details, coming primarily from the Book of Kells.

(I am uncertain of the specific manuscript source of the above detail)

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