The Art of Reading

January 3, 2024 - February 29, 2024
Special Collections

Art of Reading

A new Special Collections exhibition spotlights some of the library's earliest examples of images and text in European manuscripts and printed books. Curated by Special Collections head Sue Luftschein The Art of Reading examines how the transition from manuscript to print production in Europe was slow and gradual. During the second half of the 15th century, after the invention of the printing press in Europe, books became much more widely available. However, because it took some time for printing and its processes to become widespread across Europe, traditional manuscript production existed beside the newer forms of print production for some time. As a result, while someone like Johannes Gutenberg was printing books, traditional manuscript scribes and illuminators were still producing handwritten codices.

This exhibit traces some of the overlapping practices that were traditional to manuscript illumination and continued into and ultimately were adapted to, the printing of books.

To read more about early examples of printed books and view additional images visit the digital exhibit on Scalar