Erik Nitsche: Iris - Manuscript Illumination
Artist: Erik Nitsche
Although illumination is widely regarded as a medieval artform par excellence, it traces its origins back to ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. The classical artists illustrated text with a continuous chronological sequence of scenes, often filling an entire page. The subjects were idealized yet lifelike -- human forms painted against a background of classical architecture. The colors used were ever-so-delicate and the works showed a quite realistic perspective. The illuminated artform grew more popular as people used it to preserve and pass on their religious beliefs. Indeed, there came a time when the chief purpose of illumination was to glorify the Scriptures. At first, the artisans who created these illuminating works were monks working anonymously out of humble devotion to the Scriptures. Often rich princes and churchmen commissioned entire volumes of the Scriptures, theological works and other religious writings as an act of great piety. Later, as wealth and worldly interests increased, illuminating artists were often famous professional laymen who created both secular and religious illuminations. These illuminations were commissioned by private individuals, often moved as much by personal pleasure as by devotion to God. The Iris -- depicted on this original artwork -- was among the figures which were often hand-painted on manuscripts by devoted medieval monks. It symbolized the bridge between heaven and earth and the pact between God and Man.
This painting was originally published on the Fleetwood® First Day Cover for the Germany 80 + 40pf Medieval Manuscript Illumination stamp issued October 15, 1985.
Artwork Copyright © 1985 Unicover Corporation. All Rights Reserved under United States and international copyright laws. You may not reproduce, distribute, transmit, or otherwise exploit the Artwork in any way. Images of the Artwork may be watermarked and/or digitally watermarked. Any sale of the physical original does not include or convey the Copyright or any right comprised in the copyright.
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