Museum Celebrates 200 Years With 150 Illuminated Manuscripts

Michele Debczak
The Fitzwilliam Museum
The Fitzwilliam Museum / The Fitzwilliam Museum

Some of the most impressive examples of Renaissance art can be found between the pages of illuminated manuscripts. In celebration of its 200th anniversary, the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, UK is showcasing 150 of the most ornate books in its collection, Blouin Artinfo reports.

The exhibit, titled "Colour: The Art and Science of Illuminated Manuscripts," is open for the public to view now through December 30. The works date between the 10th and 16th centuries and have been the subject of four years of scientific research. To better understand the process used by the original artists, scientists employed imaging and spectroscopic analysis to parse the pigments that were used.

One of the biggest breakthroughs was the discovery of egg yolks as a binder, a trick borrowed from panel painters of the time. The research also revealed traces of smalt, a pigment made by grinding blue glass, that predates the earliest known use of the substance in art by 50 years.

Both the art and the science side of the pieces are explored in the exhibit currently on display. You can check out some of the highlights below.

[h/t Blouin Artinfo]

All images courtesy of the Fitzwilliam Museum.

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