Erik Nitsche: Strawberry - Manuscript Illumination

Artist: Erik Nitsche
1908 - 1998
Nationality: Swiss
Artwork Year: 1985
Image Size: 14 by 12 inches
Overall Size: 20 by 15 inches
Medium: Mixed Media on Cold Press Illustration Board


During the Middle Ages, the medieval mind delighted in ornate and colorful art. And nowhere is this love more evident than in medieval manuscripts, for they are alive with intricate and colorful drawings created in the margins and at the beginnings of chapters by patient monks working by hand. Known as illuminations, these miniature works of art virtually illuminate the pages of the ancient manuscripts with their bright colors and intricate designs. But beyond their beauty, the illuminations also mark an important milestone in history, for their disappearance -- with the invention of printing -- signified the end of an antiquated age and became a strong signal of the coming of modern culture. Illumination reached its highest form in the 14th and 15th centuries, when pages were decorated with gold, silver and all the colors of the rainbow. Indeed, the gray parchment was lighted with floriated letters, margins filled with leaves and branches and scenes from the painter's own life. Through their works, the illuminators imbued the written page with a beauty and attractiveness beyond the powers of a mere scribe alone. Since many of the illuminated manuscripts were religious in nature, the figures illuminated often had religious significance. One example is the strawberry, featured in thos artwork, for it symbolized the blood of Christ spilt for the redemption of the world. It is little wonder that the miniature illuminations were extremely popular in the Middle Ages.

This painting was originally published on the Fleetwood® First Day Cover for the Germany 50 + 20pf 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.
Our Stock Number (SKU): XB09830 US$ Price: $700.00


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