Book As Art: Beautiful Books

A beautiful book is a portable work of art—matchless and magical. Before the age of printing, bookmaking was a laborious process, requiring hours of the scribes’ handiwork and the artistic skills of the binder. The resulting exquisite objects were valued for their form as well as their function by their owners, as evidenced by examples that remain today, passed down through generations of loving hands. These stunning volumes bear the marks of their makers in ways no mass-produced paperback can achieve.

Drawn from the library’s over 3.5 million volumes, “The Book as Art” offers a dazzling display of fine books from nine centuries of bookmaking—from the unidentified scribes’ illuminated manuscripts to today’s internationally-recognized artists ’ books.

Book As ArtExamine the richness of visual form in a 13th century Latin manuscript on vellum illustrated with gold leaf and brilliant colors, tooled bindings encrusted with jewels, and covers inset with ivory miniatures, as well as contemporary artists’ books that leap beyond traditional book form. These unconventional volumes, gathered from the world’s fine presses, demonstrate the attention to text, image, paper, typography and binding that characterizes all truly beautiful books.

Exhibition Closed. Gallery Dates 9/11 - 7/12.

Book as Art: Les Fleurs du Mal online exhibit