The 18th World Congress of Jewish Studies

Colors of Decline: The Effect of Technology on the Status of Illuminated Manuscripts

During the Middle Ages, illuminated manuscripts were highly prestigious objects which only the wealthy could afford. Hebrew illuminated manuscripts were no exception. In the early modern period, a revival of the Hebrew illuminated manuscript occurred. However, evidence shows that the early modern illuminated manuscripts` status was much lower than in the Middle Ages. In my paper, I argue that this decline resulted from technological innovations, including the printing press and commercial watercolors.