An exceptional and truly fascinating exhibition will be in Tenerife this month.
‘Hidden treasures: Europe’s most valuable illuminated manuscripts’ will be on show in Santa Cruz until July 29 and is an absolute must for all literature and art fans. Lovingly cared for, but mostly hidden from view, some of the world’s greatest historical atlases and illustrated books are safeguarded in institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the British Library in London, and the Bibliothèque Nationale in París. Luckily, for those of us who are unlikely to ever see the world’s complete collection, Spanish publisher Manuel Moleiro is dedicated to the dissemination of reproductions of the masterpieces.
The originals of the volumes that M. Moleiro brings to the public were created between the 8th and 16th centuries - and mostly for emperors, kings and popes: Painstakingly painted by the best artists of their times, the cost of production of the originals was so high - in both time and materials - that they were only available to a privileged few.
The reproduction work that the M. Moleiro group undertakes is carried out under the watchful eye of the experts who are charged with the originals’ preservation at each institution. To say the copies are faithful to the earlier works is an understatement: the group’s intention is to reproduce them so exactly that they are almost indistinguishable from the original art forms, down to the materials used and even the feel and smell of those centuries- old tomes.
Each of the copies, which are made to authorised limited numbers, is sold with an exhaustive study manual which allows the reader to interpret the manuscript fully. But you don’t even have to buy one: Tesoros ocultos: los manuscritos iluminados más valiosos de Europa is on show at the Sala Mac, Calle Robayna, Monday to Friday, 10am to 1.30pm and 4.30pm to 8pm.
Over 20 exhibits can be seen, including the ‘book of hours’ - Christian devotional volumes popular in the Middle Ages - belonging to various monarchs; collections of health recommendations created for princes and aristocrats; and maps and atlases from the Age of Discovery - the period of intense European global exploration that started in the early 15th century. This is indeed a rare opportunity to explore exclusive works of art.
To see more on M. Moleiro’s work visit the website at: www. moleiro.com or you can watch a brief video of the exhibition, which showcased in Seville before coming to Tenerife, at: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=lsqVE20Ssl8.