The Book of Kells – The Work of Angels?

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Added by on 2011-06-01 / Embedded from Youtube playlist

Welcome to the gospel according to Scottish documentary maker Murray Grigor. For The Book of Kells is an almost prayerful examination of the ornate relic that’s considered the greatest Irish manuscript to survive the Middle Ages.

Created in the 8th century and currently housed in the Trinity College library in Dublin, The Book of Kells is examined in a mix of the mystical and intellectual by this production that combines dramatic readings, close-ups of the exquisite pages hand-painted by monks, and plenty of interviews with reserved experts (historians, professors, a curator, an archeologist).

The great gospel of Colum Cille was described in 1006 as the chief treasure of the western world. Nearly a thousand years later, it still remains one of the greatest achievements of Western art. For centuries, the few who were privileged to see the intricate beauty of its designs called it “the work of angels.” This fascinating program conveys for the first time on screen the greatest glory of Irish art through the use of high-definition film.

The Book of Kells‘ illuminated decoration and calligraphy adorning the Four Gospels have earned it the reputation as the most beautiful book in the world. Native Celtic artists in the 700s and 800s A.D. took the great gospel symbols of the Eastern Church–the four cherubim, lion, calf, eagle, and man–and in the cooler air of Europe’s northwest transformed them. The Celtic shapes and symbols used by the artists have been adopted into many aspects of today’s art.

The Book of Kells tells the story of this magnificent masterpiece. Created on the windy Hebridean island of Iona thirteen centuries ago, it now rests in the Trinity College library in Dublin. The manuscript has mystified and motivated writers from W.B. Yeats to James Joyce and Umberto Eco, and its intricate Celtic knotwork continues to influence artists and craftsmen today.

Funded by Radio Telefis Eireann, The Irish Film Board, The Gaelic Broadcasting Committee, and The Delmas Foundation, and with the support of investment incentives for the Irish Film Industry provided by the Government of Ireland. Music by Michael McGlynn and performed by Anuna.

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1 Comment

  • Tcatsmith56 2 years ago

    Beautiful. A follow up for me after watching the movie “Secret of the Kells”. I couldn’t be more proud of my Irish culture now. This has been an adventure for me ever St. Pat’s day, and now that we are in Holy Week, I’m ever so much more committed. I was born here in the US, so I’ve had to learn by osmosis.

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