A 12th Century Letter To The Artist

Somewhere around the year 1122 AD, Benedictine artist/monk Roger of Helmarshausen, under the pseudonym Theophilus, wrote a treatise on artistic crafts titled ON DIVERS ARTS. It is the oldest surviviving manuscript on the arts written by a practicing artist. It describes 12th century techniques in painting, glass, and metalwork. This is Theophilus’ prologue to the work, a moving letter to artists and craftsmen, in which he reminds us of the source of our gifts and the necessity of humility, generosity, gratitude, and an appreciation for our share in God’s creating power.

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