Book of Kells

The Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament together with various prefatory texts and tables. It was created in a Columban monastery in either Britain or Ireland and may have had contributions from various Columban institutions from both Britain and Ireland, it is believed to have been created c. 800 AD. The text of the Gospels is drawn from the Vulgate, although it includes several passages drawn from the earlier versions of the Bible known as the Vetus Latina, it represents the pinnacle of Insular illumination. It is widely regarded as Ireland's finest national treasure; the manuscript takes its name from the Abbey of Kells, its home for centuries. The illustrations and ornamentation of the Book of Kells surpass that of other Insular Gospel books in extravagance and complexity; the decoration combines traditional Christian iconography with the ornate swirling motifs typical of Insular art. Figures of humans and mythical beasts, together with Celtic knots and interlacing patterns in vibrant colours, enliven the manuscript's pages.

Many of these minor decorative elements are imbued with Christian symbolism and so further emphasise the themes of the major illustrations. The manuscript today comprises 340 folios. Since 1953, it has been bound in four volumes; the leaves are high-quality calf vellum. The Insular majuscule script of the text appears to be the work of at least three different scribes; the lettering is in iron gall ink, the colours used were derived from a wide range of substances, some of which were imported from distant lands. Today, it is housed at Trinity College Library, Dublin which has on display at any given time two of the current four volumes, one showing a major illustration and the other showing typical text pages. A digitised version of the entire manuscript may be seen online; the Book of Kells is one of the finest and most famous, one of the latest, of a group of manuscripts in what is known as the Insular style, produced from the late 6th through the early 9th centuries in monasteries in Ireland and England and in continental monasteries with Hiberno-Scottish or Anglo-Saxon foundations.

These manuscripts include the Cathach of St. Columba, the Ambrosiana Orosius, fragmentary Gospel in the Durham Dean and Chapter Library, the Book of Durrow. From the early 8th century come the Durham Gospels, the Echternach Gospels, the Lindisfarne Gospels, the Lichfield Gospels. Among others, the St. Gall Gospel Book belongs to the late 8th century and the Book of Armagh to the early 9th century. Scholars place these manuscripts together based on similarities in artistic style and textual traditions; the developed style of the ornamentation of the Book of Kells places it late in this series, either from the late 8th or early 9th century. The Book of Kells follows many of the iconographic and stylistic traditions found in these earlier manuscripts. For example, the form of the decorated letters found in the incipit pages for the Gospels is consistent in Insular Gospels. Compare, for example, the incipit pages of the Gospel of Matthew in the Lindisfarne Gospels and in the Book of Kells, both of which feature intricate decorative knot work patterns inside the outlines formed by the enlarged initial letters of the text..

The Abbey of Kells in Kells, County Meath had been founded, or refounded, from Iona Abbey, construction taking from 807 until the consecration of the church in 814. The manuscript's date and place of production have been the subject of considerable debate. Traditionally, the book was thought to have been created in the time of Columba even as the work of his own hands; this tradition has long been discredited on paleographic and stylistic grounds: most evidence points to a composition date c. 800, long after St. Columba's death in 597; the proposed dating in the 9th century coincides with Viking raids on Iona, which began in 794 and dispersed the monks and their holy relics into Ireland and Scotland. There is another tradition, with some traction among Irish scholars, that suggests the manuscript was created for the 200th anniversary of the saint's death. Alternatively, as is thought possible for the Northumbrian Lindisfarne Gospels and the St Cuthbert Gospel, both with Saint Cuthbert, it may have been produced to mark the "translation" or moving of Columba's remains into a shrine reliquary, which had taken place by the 750s.

There are at least five competing theories about the manuscript's place of origin and time of completion. First, the book, or just the text, may have been created at Iona and completed in Kells. Second, the book may have been produced at Iona. Third, the manuscript may have been produced in the scriptorium at Kells. Fourth, it may have been produced in the north of England at Lindisfarne brought to Iona and from there to Kells, it may have been the product of Dunkeld or another monastery in Pictish Scotland, though there is no actual evidence


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ARCH+ is a quarterly German magazine for architecture and design, established in 1967. The magazine has been praised by a number of different publications. A group of architecture students and junior faculty from the University of Stuttgart established ARCH+ in 1967 and its first issue appeared in January of the following year. Despite forming concurrent to the student protest movement of 1968, the magazine's content was not explicitly political in its first years. Early issues focused on technocratic aspects of architecture and urbanism, such as planning theory, semiotics and cybernetics. In the early 1970s, growing ideological divides among the publication's contributors led to the establishment of splinter editorial groups in West Berlin and Aachen. A new wave of editors effected a politicization of the magazine, which came to focus on the sociological issues surrounding the built environment. While this progressive political orientation has stayed with the magazine until today, subsequent decades saw an increase in attention to other aspects of the field, including: aesthetics and postmodernism in the late 1970s, the legacy of the modern movement in the mid-1980s, high-tech architecture in the 1990s.

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