R. Sostenuto – Book of Kells- Art or design?


 

Book of Kells- Art or design?

 

 What separates art and design? Is it the objective of some designers that consider themselves artists, but very few artist consider themselves designers or is it that design is only limited to visual items, and art can contain many more objectives such as music, poetry and etc.  In the Book of Kells it a hard choice to express or to put into words if it is art or design and it can also be a controversial topic that many people have strong opinions on. Art is the means of evoking an emotion response towards the piece of work while design is to serve as a purpose.  When looking at a piece of artwork the message it is portraying conveys a different point of view to everyone, it inspires an audience to think outside of the box. When looking at a piece of design it portrays the same message to everyone, it motivates its audience to buy or learn about that product.

The Book of Kells was one of these great spiritual achievements during the medieval times. Monks decorated the illuminated manuscript with the intricate designs and biblical scenes to portray the realities of their times. Written over 1,000 years ago this manuscript has survived over the centuries and is one of the most famous illustrations in the world. The Book of Kells is an incredibly detailed intricate manuscript that uses symbolism to emphasize the themes of the four Gospels. These medieval artists used sophisticated intricate designs, interlacing patterns, and knot work to tell the story of Christ according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Symbolism is represented throughout the works of the Book of Kells. During a period of time when few people were able to read or write these fine artist used symbols to illustrate the message they wanted to portray. The Celtic monks captivated their audience through the use of illustrations and symbolism.

The Book of Kells was composed of the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and is recognized to be the finest illuminated manuscript constructed in the world. The origin of this famous book is unknown. Some believe it originated in Iona or in an Irish monastery in the eighth or early ninth century. During the 11th century the book was stolen, but was recovered without its beautiful gold and stone cover.  The Book of Kells contains ornate, beautiful illustrations with intricate detail. This illuminated book was done on vellum and contained superb abstract illustrations. The elaborate and beautiful details of the pictures contained intricate details and patterns of God, man, and animals and are all intertwined.

Immanuel Kant and David Hume are two great well-known philosophers that take pride in enlightening and acknowledging about the arts. “The various arts under a comprehensive doctrine are an important source of concepts, issues and arguments that underlie debates in our own century. Both are motivated by the question of whether our highly subjective and even irrational responses to artworks and other beautiful objects can have any sort of objectivity.”  Kant’s philosophy is based on the theory of natural beauty and art, “this rose is beautiful” (Gracyk). Hume’s philosophy is the opposite of Kant’s. His philosophical belief is based on a design argument, that it does indeed have a purpose.

Hume’s argument provides me to help clear up the fact that The Book of Kells is certainly a design aspect. The lives of many people were greater influenced from this book and was shared throughout the minds of many. Hume states “some works attain critical approval across the barriers of culture and time, as when ancient authors such as Homer and Cicero delight modern readers. He suggests that such a convergence of taste identifies a work of real genius” (Gracyk). The Celtic monks captivated their audience through the use of illustrations and symbolism. The Book of Kells was recognized as a magnificent piece of design during medieval times. This timeless illuminated manuscript represents the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. This lavish, colorful, and artistic creation has exceptional quality and artistic tradition. The Book of Kells creates artwork that conveys a message to their audience and serves a purpose through bold vibrant colors, illustrations, symbolism, and the experiences and traditions of their life.

The Book of Kells is an incredibly detailed and complex manuscript that uses symbolism to emphasize the themes of the four Gospels. These medieval artists used sophisticated intricate designs, interlacing patterns, and knot work to tell the story of Christ according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Symbolism is represented throughout the works of the Book of Kells. During a period of time when few people weren’t able to read or write these fine artist used symbols to illustrate the message they wanted to portray.

 

Work Cited

Gracyk, Theodore. “Philosophy of Art: Hume and Kant: Summary and Comparison.” 2002.<http://www.mnstate.edu/gracyk/courses/phil%20of%20art/hume_and_kant.htm>.

 

Kleiner, Fred S.. Gardner’s Art Through the Ages . Boston: Thomson Higher Education, 2005.

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One comment

  1. Roxanne,

    Well written and well documented. If your answer is both well done. if it is art or design a little too vague. However well written and thought out. In the future declare your intent in the first paragraph clearly. Then you support. A lot of support but try to be a bit more clear in your viewpoint. Unless I missed it???


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