The late Jim Garvey was known for many unique activities during his all too brief lifetime. One of them was creating illuminated manuscripts. I’ve been told that one of them was an illuminated letter to the IRS explaining why he should have to pay income tax — and legend has it… that they granted his request (there’s some serious talismanic action going on there!) At the moment, the Morgan Library & Museum has an online exhibit devoted to the Torah’s Book of Ruth, which centers on an 18 foot long illuminated manuscript of said text created by artist Barbara Wolff 2015-17. The museum’s website says:
“This exhibition celebrates the 2018 gift by Joanna S. Rose of the Joanna S. Rose Illuminated Book of Ruth to the Morgan. The accordion-fold vellum manuscript, measuring nine inches tall and an amazing eighteen feet long, was designed and illuminated by New York artist Barbara Wolff, who worked on the project for two years (2015–17). The complete biblical text of the Book of Ruth is written in Hebrew on one side and in English on the other, the work of calligrapher Izzy Pludwinski. The Hebrew side features twenty colored illustrations and a continuous landscape, with accents and lettering in silver, gold, and platinum; the English side has forty images executed in black ink.
“The Rose Book of Ruth is presented in conversation with twelve manuscripts, drawn from the Morgan’s holdings, that unfold the Christian traditions for illustrating the story of Ruth during the Middle Ages. Through the juxtaposition of the modern manuscript with these ancient works, which date from the twelfth to the fifteenth century and include three leaves from the Morgan’s famed Crusader Bible, the exhibition brings into focus the techniques of medieval illumination that inspired Wolff, as well as her inventive approach to iconography.”
The exhibit includes several video presentations. Check it all out.