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Re: [BKARTS] Telling of the Book Arts World



James Pepper wrote:
My particular works are of the oldest type of book arts, scripture is
the original book art. Miro and Marc Chagall did it. But hey does anyone
know why they did it? It is the work of someone who is passionate about their
work and it takes the form of "book arts" but I would have done this work
whether the art form existed or not.

It is possible that I don't understand this paragraph. Does the fourth sentence refer to Mr. Pepper or scribes and illuminators in general?


Yes, scripture is the original book art. However, the monastic scribes were not so much copying from a basis of "passion" as working because that was their job. One has only to read some of the marginal comments about the tiresome quality of the work to realize that they were weary of and wearied by what they were doing. They didn't consider it an art, just a job. The concept of an artistic presentation of the written word is quite modern, and, as in all things, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I have been a calligrapher for more than 30 years, and the question of whether or not writing is to be considered art is a tricky one. If I write out a six line invitation in a simple Italic hand, is that art? My opinion is that it is not. What about Donald Jackson's beautiful lettering in the St. John's Bible? Certainly there can be no question about his exquisite illuminations' being art, but what about the calligraphy? If I write out that six line invitation and add a badly painted border to it, is that art? Again, that raises the issue of the eye of the beholder. Who is to judge the quality of the work and declare it art or childish scribbling? Do we wait on the judgment of history, as did the Impressionsts? Can I declare my badly painted border to be art and thus settle with question for all time?

I don't pretend to know the answers. I'm just raising the question. As Ashleigh Brilliant said, "I can see only one side of the question, and at the moment, it is more than enough."

Sally Jackson

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