Erik Nitsche: Lily - Manuscript Illumination
Artist: Erik Nitsche
In the Middle Ages, books were decorated with figures and ornaments which helped clarify their contents and also entertain the reader. For the medieval monk, the margins of a page often presented an excellent opportunity to bring to life the teachings of Christ. Furthermore, the miniature paintings were used to vividly tell the story of the life and suffering of Christ. Often, the pictures could help mentally underscore certain Christian teachings which the monk felt were particularly important and in need of special emphasis. Later, as the art of illumination became more widely used and the skill of the illuminators grew, private citizens of great wealth would commission a monk or other artist to embellish a book with tiny illuminations. These paintings would often focus on such topics as architecture and landscapes. In addition, artists began embuing the written word with a vast network of vines and wicker. Often, the flowers and creatures held special symbolic meanings for the artist. For example, the lily featured in this artwork has long been a symbol of the innocence and purity of the Virgin Mary. The butterfly was frequently used by medieval monks as a symbol of the virtues of the Virgin Mary. Indeed, by being familiar with symbols and their meaning, the reader in the Middle Ages could learn much about the book's subject.
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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