Monday, April 13, 2009

The Codex Manesse: from Medieval Illumination to grisaille enamel

My latest experiment in grisaille has involved translating some illuminated manuscript illustrations into the painted enamel technique. I love the stylised form and composition of these old illuminations. The Codex Manesse is one of the most beautifully illustrated - go and have a look at all the full colour renderings. You will notice that the poets all look remarkably alike! This is not becasue they are all related ;-) The Codex is a compilation of biographies of famous German romantic poets of the period, and the illustrations are idealised portraits of the poets engaged in 'poetic' activities, probably never meant to be actual likenesses.

This one is based on the biography of Der Kanzler (folio 423v) who was apparently a german poet of the mid 13th c of fairly low social status who versified on knightly and moral topics.
Codex Manesse medieval musicians grisaille enamel
Codex Manesse medieval musicians grisaille enamel
Codex Manesse medieval musicians grisaille enamel

This one is based on Herr Konrad von Altstetten (folio 249v) who stood in the service of the Abbot of Gallen, who was himself on of the 'knightly' abbots.

Codex Manesse medieval lovers grisaille enamel

Codex Manesse medieval lovers grisaille enamel

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