Wednesday, August 29, 2012
The Saint John's Bible: A Contemporary Illuminated Manuscript
The Getty Center Date: Wednesday, September 5, 2012 Time: 7:00 p.m. Location: Harold M. Williams Auditorium Admission: Free; reservations recommended. Call (310) 440-7300
In 1998, Saint John's Abbey and University in Minnesota commissioned calligrapher Donald Jackson to produce a handwritten, hand-illuminated Bible—the first to have been commissioned by a Benedictine Abbey since the invention of the printing press. Completed in 2011, The Saint John's Bible features calligraphy developed by Jackson himself, as well as lavishly decorated pages created by contemporary artists. In this presentation, Jackson discusses the historical influences and techniques that informed his project and how the process provided insights into the work of the past. The Saint John's Bible is divided into seven volumes, has 160 illuminations, and cost $4 million to produce. Collaborating with a team of scholars, theologians, calligraphers, and illuminators, Jackson used a mixture of techniques to create the Bible, including text handwritten with goose and turkey quills on calf-skin vellum, gold and platinum leaf, hand-ground pigments, and Chinese stick ink. Computers and digital fonts were used to plan the layout of the Bible. "When I was 14 years old I was thrown out of an art museum for whistling in the public galleries," says Jackson. "But I'd already caught the magic of the illuminated texts I saw there, and my life was changed by them. My presentation will help audiences better understand the creation of these complex works of art." Donald Jackson is the official scribe and calligrapher to the Crown Office of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and artistic director of The Saint John's Bible. Complements the exhibition The Art of Devotion in the Middle Ages.