Book of Kells

Our next stop in Dublin landed us on the campus of Trinity College of Dublin.

Here we visited another large tourist destination, the Book of Kells exhibit. Each year approximately 500,000 visitors view the exhibit. In case you're like me and have no idea of what the Book of Kells is, here is a brief summary found on TCD's web page.
The Book of Kells was written around the year 800 AD, and contains a richly decorated copy of the four gospels in a latin text based on the Vulgate edition (completed by St Jerome in 384 AD). The gospels are preceded by prefaces, summaries of the gospel narratives and concordances of gospel passages compiled in the fourth century by Eusebius of Caesarea. In all, there are 340 folios (680 pages).

The script is embellished by the elaboration of key words and phrases and by an endlessly inventive range of decorated initials and interlinear drawings. The book contains complex scenes normally interpreted as the Arrest of Christ, His Temptation, and images of Christ, the Virgin and Child, St Matthew and St John. Originally a single volume, it was rebound in four volumes in 1953 for conservation reasons. Two volumes are normally on display, one opened at a major decorated page, the other at a text opening.
It was quite an interesting exhibit. Unfortunately no cameras were allowed. I have, by the power of Google, found some pictures from the Book of Kells. Below is the Four Evangelists. Clockwise from top left is Matthew, Mark, John, and Luke.

There were many interesting displays that describe how the book was made using the methods of the day. They can be pretty graphic, like skinning calves and using urine to remove the hair. I'd say it was worth the 8 euro, if you can stand all the tourists trying to push and shove their way to view the exhibit.


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