Illuminated Books of the Middle Ages and Renaissance: An Exhibition Held at the Baltimore Museum of Art, January 27-March 13

Illuminated Books of the Middle Ages and Renaissance: An Exhibition Held at the Baltimore Museum of Art, January 27-March 13

Illuminated Books of the Middle Ages and Renaissance: An Exhibition Held at the Baltimore Museum of Art, January 27-March 13

Illuminated Books of the Middle Ages and Renaissance: An Exhibition Held at the Baltimore Museum of Art, January 27-March 13

Excerpt

It was not realized how great were the accumulations of medieval and renaissance manuscripts in this country until 1935, when the late Seymour De Ricci and his colleague, W. J. Wilson, published the first of the two massive volumes of the Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada--soon supplemented by an Index volume. The usefulness of this great achievement, even with the limitations and imperfections which are inevitable in such an undertaking, is too well known to scholars in the field to require comment. The 15,000 or so items listed by this work in the collections of nearly 500 American libraries demonstrate the unsuspected proportions of the migration of manuscript material to this country, almost entirely the result of the activities of American private collectors of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

For those concerned with the illuminated book--the historians of art--only a relatively small proportion of this vast accumulation of texts is pertinent. The necessary limitations of the Census prevented any more specific guide to the artistic interest of the books than a mere mention of the number of miniatures. Therefore, even with the Census as an aid, the general scope of our national resources in fine illuminated manuscripts is not too well known, except to a very small handful of the most adventurous scholars.

The outstanding exception to this generalization is, of course, the Pierpont Morgan Library, whose preeminence among all American collections . . .

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