Painted Pages: Illuminated Manuscripts, 13th – 18th Centuries

Published October 31, 2017

The Museum of Fine Arts -Washington County is pleased to present Painted Pages: Illuminated Manuscripts, 13th – 18th Centuries, which features more than thirty-five works drawn from Christian, Persian, Jewish, and classical traditions. Works include – medieval Bibles, prayer books, psalters, Books of Hours, choir books, missals, breviaries, and lectionaries, all of which are drawn from the collection of the Reading Public Museum in Reading, Pennsylvania. Examples of materials such as parchment, vellum, gold leaf, and minerals that were used by artists are on display in the exhibition.

The exhibition will be on view from November 4, 2017 through January 28, 2018 and is sponsored locally by the Maryland Humanities, RBC Wealth Management, Cindy and Bill Stead, Chambersburg, PA, BB&T, and Mr. & Mrs. Walter P. Smith. The exhibition is organized by the Reading Public Museum, Reading, Pennsylvania.

Most of the works date from the thirteenth through the eighteenth centuries and are created with ink on vellum (animal skin) or parchment. European and non-Western examples from various cultures will be shown in the exhibition. Highlights include a lavish Bifolio from a Book of Hours with illuminations by Joachinus de Gigantibus de Rotenberg (German, active 1440s – 1490s), a Perugian Leaf from a Dominican Missal of the late fourteenth century, a large Bifolio of a Spanish Choir Book from the fifteenth century, a Hebrew scroll of the Book of Esther from the eighteenth century, and sheets from the Shahnameh (the illustrated Persian Book of Kings) of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Nearly all of the pages came to the Reading Public Museum through Otto Ege, a well-known Cleveland-area bookseller and specialist who was born in Reading.

A reception and Gallery Talk will be held on Saturday November 11, 2017. A Gold Foil Letters workshop will occur from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m in the Kaylor Atrium. Participants will view and be inspired by the beauty of hand created illustrations of Painted Pages and writing found in books that seem to be “lit up” in gold. Students will create their own “Illuminated Manuscripts” using foil embossing techniques. It is open for students of all ages and advanced registration is required. There is a $10 suggested donation fee for the workshop. At 5:30 p.m. Agnita M. Stine Schreiber Curator, Daniel Fulco, Ph.D., will lead a free Gallery Talk for the Painted Pages exhibition. Refreshments will be served in the Kaylor Atrium from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

There will be a youth workshop on Saturday, November 4, 2017 from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. for grades 3-8 entitled: Illuminated Manuscript Foil Letters. The workshop is $25.00 for non-museum members and $22.50 for museum members.

On January 7, 2017, Lynley Anne Herbert, Ph.D., the Robert and Nancy Hall Assistant Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts at the Walters Art Museum, will present a free illustrated lecture at 2:30 p.m. entitled Otto Ege and the Legacy of Leaves: A Curator’s Perspective.

To register for any of these events, visit or call the museum at 301-739-5727.

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