Skies of Parchment, Seas of Ink:
Jewish Illuminated Manuscripts

Edited by Marc Michael Epstein
Princeton University Press, May, 2015

With contributions by Eva Frojmovic, Jenna Siman Jacobs, Hartley Lachter, Shalom Sabar, Raymond P. Scheindlin, Ágnes Vetõ, Susan Vick, Barbara Wolff & Diane Wolfthal

Skies of Parchment, Seas of Ink offers the first full survey of Jewish illuminated manuscripts, ranging from their origins in the Middle Ages to the present day. Featuring some of the most beautiful examples of Jewish art of all time.

Chapter 3
How an illuminated manuscript is created (photo essay)
The Illuminated Page: Materials, Methods,
and Techniques by Barbara Wolff.


"Fifty Shades of Gold"

"Psalm 104 is about beauty. It is about other things as well, true, but it starts with beauty and returns to it as a touchstone. It describes the world with rapturous metaphor. God, who is 'clothed with glory and majesty', who covers himself with 'light as with a garment, who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,' has made the world in his image.

When you walk into "Hebrew Illumination for Our Time: The Art of Barbara Wolff," at the Morgan Library & Museum, you are surrounded by the wild precise beauty of that creation, in rich lush exquisite witty masterfully detailed controlled miniatures.

To walk into that room is to be stunned by beauty."

—Joanna Palmer, Culture Editor, The Jewish Standard, March 2015

Barbara Wolff–
An Artists Profile

"The 'Talent' in the title of her show at the YU Museum has multiple meanings. It pays tribute both to Wolff's abilities as well as her fluency with ancient artist's materials, such as burnished gold on vellum and ground pigments."

—Haddasah Magazine 3/07

"Barbara Wolff brings medieval artistry to contemporary Hebrew manuscript design. It's Magic, Turning These Pieces Into Gold"

"The work is slow," Wolff says, "in the best sense of the word. By slow I mean with thoughtfulness, deliberation, great care."

–The Jewish Week 3/15

Gilding The Lily and The Thistle

"The illuminations bring to a single, fine point Wolff's exquisitely observed botanicals and technical artistry. Balancing composition, color and technical perfection, Wolff's miniatures reward close inspection."

—The Forward 3/07


LETTER ARTS REVIEW is an award-winning quarterly journal internationally recognized as the preeminent magazine for calligraphers and those involved with the lettering and book arts. It presents today's innovative leaders as well as yesterday's legends. From the creators of the precious illuminated manuscripts to 21st century designers of the newest typefaces, it reflects the highest caliber work from every corner of the world.

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This Italian quarterly journal is a reference point for book-lovers, collectors, booksellers, libraries, museums and conservators and presents the finest examples of manuscript illumination. It showcases masters of the manuscript miniature, both past and present, its patrons and collectors, acquisitions, exhibitions, and conferences. Note: An English translation of the text follows the article.

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