Svenja Michel

University of Hamburg, Germany


Changes in book art: images in Books of Hours between manuscript making and printing


The period after the introduction and spread of moveable type in Europe was a time of media change. It not only influenced the form and number of books produced in western Europe, but also provoked a change in style and frequency of images within these books. Since Books of Hours were a popular genre at the time and allowed for excessive illumination, they are representative of a number of developments within book arts, such as the relation between text and images, as well as a change in devotional practices and reading behaviour. The changes in this particular genre also allow us to examine the significance of incunabula and images within them, as opposed to manuscripts produced around the same time. Several ‘agents of change’ can be observed in the printed Book of Hours that will be at the centre of this presentation, a previously undiscussed edition printed in Paris around 1497 that is today in the collection of the Museum Angewandte Kunst in Frankfurt. A close examination of this copy also leads to questions of relations within the network of printers, publishers, and artists active around the turn of the century in Paris. I aim to give a brief introduction to the innovations that were introduced, and to deal with questions of value, both in the economic and artistic sense.


Svenja Michel holds a BA in Art History from the Phillips-Universität Marburg. She is currently an MA student of manuscript cultures at the Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures, University of Hamburg.