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Reproducing The Middle Ages: Abbé Jean-Joseph Rive (1730–1791) And The Study Of Manuscript Illumination At The Turn Of The Early Modern Period

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Chapter Summary

It was only by the very end of the early modern period that illuminated manuscripts from the Middle Ages were, if only gradually, looked upon as art and as a genre of painting in its own right. The French librarian and scholar Abbé Jean Joseph Rive played an important, though often neglected role in that process: he was first in making an attempt to write history of book illumination, and to come up with catalogue of questions to classify manuscripts. The work that is of interest in this context is a small treatise he published in 1782, announcing a comprehensive study on manuscript illumination: Prospectus pour un Essai sur l'art de vérifiér l'âge des miniatures, peintes dans les manuscrits depuis le IVe jusqu'au XVIe siècle inclusivement. All manuscripts selected by Rive were written and illuminated in France or Flanders, all of them dating from the fifteenth to the seventeenth centuries.

Keywords: Abbé Jean Joseph Rive; early modern period; manuscript illumination



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