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Class Snapshot: ‘Arts of the Medieval Book’

November 26th, 2018


This fall, six Princeton undergraduate students in the course “Arts of the Medieval Book” are exploring the technology and function of books through a historical perspective.

Working firsthand with Princeton’s collections of centuries-old illuminated manuscripts and facsimile editions of some of the most visually splendid manuscripts made between the sixth and 16th centuries, the students consider the choices artists made as they married text and image. At the end of the course, the class engages with contemporary artists’ books to explore how book forms have evolved.

The instructor: Beatrice Kitzinger, assistant professor of art and archaeology, specializes in Western medieval art. She primarily studies manuscripts from the late eighth to early 10th centuries made in the Carolingian world.

The physicality of manuscripts figures deeply in her teaching. By designing the course around objects in Princeton’s collections and asking the students to try some hands-on design work themselves, Kitzinger said students can focus on the “architecture” of bookmaking. This offers a more tangible learning experience than viewing slides. Students have the option to create an original artist’s book for their final project.

To read more, click here.

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