manuscript exhibition 2017

Twists and turns – (manu)scripts of the Gothic period

The majority of the 1000 medieval manuscripts held by Admont Benedictine Abbey, some of which were actually produced here, date to the Gothic era. Those created in the scriptorium of Admont Abbey already evidence signs of the introduction of Gothic modifications to the Carolingian minuscule script by the late 12th century. Carolingian minuscule, introduced by Charlemagne and the script that became the calligraphic standard throughout Europe for almost 400 years, begins gradually to change. The scribes start ‘twisting’ the letters and also increasingly tend to ‘turn’ them into the forms of the script known as Gothic textura, or Blackletter.

The 2017 manuscript exhibition documents this change in handwritten texts and the gradual replacement of Carolingian minuscule by the new Gothic scripts (later to be adopted as typefaces), such as Blackletter, Bastarda and Cursive Script, and the development of layout to include new illustrative elements. The textual and image features that constitute Gothic book culture are here made manifest using manuscripts and fragments from the Admont collection. Also on display will be early manuals on calligraphy that evidence the interest in the development of writing since the 17th century.

To the exhibition 2017