Book of Kells — The Gorgeous Work of Art
After reading the “Book of Kells”, I start thinking this book is an art work or a design. When I looked over those fantastic pictures in the book, I realized that this is totally a great work of art because of its unique drawing, illustration, and typography. “Book of Kells” was created by Celtic monks in Ireland c.750 – 800. When they were writing the book, they had created the beautiful typography and pattern. At that time, they may did design the book. However, years later, when we read this book, it is surely an art work by its amazing historical pattern and typography.
“Book of Kells” was a manuscript illustrated book. And I am surprised about the work that we are doing was also doing by the people long time ago. Moreover, they did a wonderful and unique job in the book and showed us the background information and people’s lifestyle at that period. In the book, the most impressive thing that I have is the abundant colorful flower patterns, and animal patterns. As Harris wrote, at that time, the illumination tools that they used were “gouaches, pencils, micro line pens, brushes, compass, ruler, and pergamenata paper”. However, for using the limited tools, they could still create lots patterns. Nowadays, how lucky we are can use many drawing tools, computers, and lot design software to do our art work.
Of course some might object that “Book of Kells” was not art but design. Although I concede that to create a book, they needed to design how the book would be looked like and where the patterns would be drawn, I still maintain that for most parts of the creation in the book is definitely art. Now, we have to understand what the difference between art and design is. O’ Nolan states, “Perhaps the most fundamental difference between art and design that we can all agree on is their purposes.The most renowned (and successful) works of art today are those that establish the strongest emotional bond between the artist and their audience. By contrast,the designer’s job isn’t to invent something new, but to communicate something that already exists, for a purpose.”
Basically, O’ Nolan is telling us the purposes from artists and designers are different. For artists, they want to share the feelings, and to let people or audience to be impacted by it. That was what “Book of Kells” show to us. The purpose of creating the book was transcribing the Gospel in Latin by those monks. They may just think about to make the book beautiful, and that is why they created a lot of patterns and typography. And this may not be design because this is not “something that already exists”.
“Book of Kells” also influenced and amazed many people by its creative art. According to S. Purkayasth, R. Stalley, and J. Dingliana who from school of Computer Science & Statistics, and School of Histories and Humanities, Trinity College Dublin, “The Book of Kells, the work of Celtic Monks ca. 800 AD., is an artwork with few parallels……one of the most famous and intricate illuminated manuscripts in the world, is an object of immense cultural and artistic significance.” In other words, they believed that “Book of Kells” was so essential for artists. Because of its special animal patterns, other creative patterns, unique typography, and grand use of lots color.
We can see clearly that in “Book of Kells”, there were plenty of colorful and fantastic patterns, such as a big shape with full of flowers and leaves, a human body with bird’s wings, and a kind of horse with bird’s wings. They were using red, green, blue and gold color to draw those patterns. It was so amazing that at that time, there came out a book like this. It is a great gift for us.
However, art cannot last forever without design. They are like best friends. Design helps art to become more reasonable and powerful. Additional, art helps design to become more touchable and artistical. Years ago, when the monks created the “Book of Kells”, they might design an art work. Now, when we read the book, it is an art work with good design and historical significance.
In conclusion, even though design and art cannot be apart for some reasons, I still think for most part now, the “Book of Kells” is tend to be an art work instead of design. At that time, the monks started practicing when they were children, and until they could not draw anymore. They put all their lives into the book made this book the most fantastic art work and the prettiest book of the world forever.
Harris, Eve. “Beyond The Book of Kells: Ripping Off Celtic Motifs.” March 2010. Web. September 30th, 2012.
O’ Nolan, John. “The Difference Between Art and Design.” webdesigner depot. Web. September 30th, 2012.
S. Purkayasth, R. Stalley, and J. Dingliana. “Investigating the style and art forms in the Book of Kells.” Poster Abstracts of Computational Aesthetics in Graphics, Visualization, and Imaging (2011). Web. September 30th, 2012.