this is one of my favorite ornate initials: Lindisfarne Gospels (c.698aD). simply amazing!
after we finished last night, i felt i owed you a summary.
there are two main points to keep in mind about last class: how the mark evolves culturally, and formally:
(I) how the mark evolves culturally (from roman times to high middle ages/renaissance)?
1- the emergence of literacy (more people read, "the more you read the more you read"). why do people read more? from 8th century a.d., we have new vernacular languages: old english, high german, iberian (spanish), regional italian, etc.
2- christianity spreads throughout europe and the bible is translated into the vernacular. we looked at examples of the codex (a book form, rather than a scroll), the hymnal (people sang along with their little copies), the book of hours (remember you carry this one with you at all times), illuminated manuscripts (to catechize children, didactic everyday moral teachings), ars moriendi, (the nearness of death because of the "great plague"), the middle ages erotica (a thriving underground genre), etc.
3- spread of knowledge, i.e., the university (look at the 67! universities in europe by the high middle ages). because of the influences of the universities we get:
4- spread of science (ratdolt's euclid's elements)
5- spread of humanism (this is a renaissance development)
(II) how the mark evolves formally? now we're looking at typeface itself (from trajan to gothic)
see the different decorative systems of the gothic? there is an equivalence between architectural and calligraphic developments, tracery = typeface
what spearheads typeface this evolution?
a- the influences of different languages, and b- the diversity of writing tasks reflected in majuscule and minuscule. majuscule for the church, government, minuscule for scholars, the literati, the secretariat, bankers, in other words: the emergent bourgeoisie. c- each change in the mark reflects cultural conventions.
let's take a look at development new roman to gothic. imagine an arrow of influences moving first from south to north and then back again from north to south. it takes 700 years!
south and east traveling to north and west (this is basically the movement of christianization to the north)
new roman (uncials and half uncials or majuscule) majuscule are the headings and titles. uncials are miniscule.
visigothic = greek and arabic
old english (anglo-saxon with a normand influence from france).
carolingian (latin, but ruling over franco-germans)
now see the arrow moving north to south (since 1500's the movement of the reformation from north to south)
gothic and all its variations:
textura, (gothic in netherlands & germany),
rotunda (gothic traveling south to spain, italy),
bastarda (gothic in england) and
cursiva (gothic in france, germany, england).
now, what's on your mind? say it.