Archive for February 10th, 2007

While searching on the web this week we came across this interesting piece on The Book of the Hours and Our Lady. 

"The Books of Hours were the prayer books used by laypeople in medieval times.  Commissioned by royal family members, the nobility and wealthy patrons, they became status symbols, the jewels in the collections of book collectors."

We enjoyed viewing the illustrations  and discussed how some of these illuminations were used for different times of the day and seasons.   We especially liked the reference to the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary as we pray it frequently and love how, over time, the words come from our lips memorized.  There is such a special simplistic yearning of my heart to say such words often.  It edifies the spirit. 

I introduced the dc to illuminations while we were learning to read and write some years ago at the suggestion of Julia Fogassy from Our Father’s House.  I had the Dover book The Book of Kells and used that as an illustration of illumination so to speak.  I showed the children the illustrations and explained how very important their work was and how very exacting it had to be.  It was their great work..their Magnum Opus and all was dedicated to the Glory of God.  So too, was their work (the schoolwork and chores of the children) special to the Lord.  I had them look at their work like in the Sound Beginnings phonics book we have used…what is your best work and why, what is your least favorite work and why.  How would you like to take your least favorite and make it your favorite.  How could you do this? 

So too, is the way we approach art.  It raises the heart and mind above the ordinary and makes it extra- ordinary. 

Our latest art assignment involves making our own illuminated calendar using fine art for the months using their own choices…though taking into account this list from the site referenced above:

January  – Feasting

February – Sitting by the fire

March – Pruning vines

April – Garden scene

May – Hawking or boating

June – The hay harvest

July – Reaping the wheat
August – Threshing

September – Harvesting grapes

October – Ploughing and sowing

November – Gathering acorns for pigs

December – Killing the pig or baking bread

LOL frankly, I think baking bread would be an excellent illustration for the month of December…killing pigs isn’t my "thing" ;o)  I think the pictures of the Threshers and The Angelus for July would be a wonderful choice.  My suggestion was to find different works of art illustrating Our Lady doing different household tasks or someone modeling Our Lady in the doing of them.  I also recommended they chose a flower that matched their choice that showed some virtue or attribute of our Lady using this chart.   We are still tossing ideas around.  The finished product as yet will be determined and completed during the coming week or so.  I want to put this at the beginning of the Liturgical Year Notebook.

We  loved  reading this book….Marguerite Makes a Book and want to imitate what we have learned there using this art project…Illuminated lettering Kit…will be coming in the mail shortly.  We would love to give it a go!

This is  a great site (Leaves of Gold) that was posted by dear Martha at the 4Real board.  I parked my older ones at the computer and had them go through these pages step by step.  There are eight slides from illuminated manuscripts that pose "discovery questions" and answers that help the student (and teacher) explore each manuscript.

Could you imagine using this notebook to put your best copy work in??…what a find!

For further illustration here is a hypertext Book of Hours:


"The medieval "Book of Hours" evolved out of the monastic cycle of prayer which divided the day into eight segments, or "hours." These portable books designed for individual laypeople are smaller and less complicated than those used by the monks and designed for use by individuals. Usually, a Book of Hours include a liturgical calendar, along with the seven "Penitential Psalms" and additional prayers devoted to particular saints or personal issues. Most Books of Hours were devoted to the Virgin Mary."

I am hungry to know more….still seeking more resources!

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