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Saturday, May 25, 2024
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‘The Beast in the Book’ exhibit comes to Smathers Library

<p>Two examples of the books on display. Left is “The Luttrell Psalter: a facsimile,” a 14th-century illuminated collection of Psalms and other devotional materials; right is “The Cloisters Apocalypse,” an illustrated 14th-century version of the Revelation of St. John.</p>

Two examples of the books on display. Left is “The Luttrell Psalter: a facsimile,” a 14th-century illuminated collection of Psalms and other devotional materials; right is “The Cloisters Apocalypse,” an illustrated 14th-century version of the Revelation of St. John.

The Hoggetowne Medieval Faire may be ending this weekend, but there is a new outlet for fans of the era.  

A medieval studies exhibit called “The Beast in the Book: Animals in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Illustrations from the Middle Ages” will be on display at Smathers Library until March 6. 

This exhibit is a part of the Vagantes, the largest medieval studies graduate student conference in North America. The conference travels to different institutions, and UF won a spot as host. Manuscripts from this portion will be showcased from Feb. 19 to Feb. 21.

Rebecca Jefferson, head of the Isser and Rae Price Library of Judaica, curated the exhibit, which focuses on the animal imagery within Christian, Jewish and Muslim manuscripts. 

“We may not have fancy-schmancy manuscripts, but we do have some quite beautiful replications,” she said. 

Jefferson said the reproductions of the manuscripts, called facsimiles, are rare, and many of their templates are destroyed.

“The ‘Beast in the Book’ exhibit is just one way to showcase the wonderful materials we have in the libraries,” she said.

Brittany Natale, a third-year UF psychology student, ventured up to the second floor of the library for the first time and made a pit-stop at the exhibit.

“I liked the Visconti Hours one,” Natale, 21, said, referring to a prayer book with religious illustrations. “I’m not really so religious, but it’s still interesting to see the animals with the angels.”

[A version of this story ran on page 5 on 1/29/2015 under the headline “‘The Beast in the Book’ exhibit comes to Smathers Library"]

Two examples of the books on display. Left is “The Luttrell Psalter: a facsimile,” a 14th-century illuminated collection of Psalms and other devotional materials; right is “The Cloisters Apocalypse,” an illustrated 14th-century version of the Revelation of St. John.

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