Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Brendan and The Secret of Kells

Found this YouTube link from About.com Medieval History. It's a soon to be released cartoon about the Book of Kells.

The Book of Kells is a highly decorated manuscript of the four gospels of the Bible. Thought to have been started at the monastery of Iona (island off the coast of western Scotland) by St. Colum Kille (St. Columba) aroud 561. The book was moved to the monastery at Kells (Ireland) after a series of Viking raids somewhere in the early 800's. The book now resides at Trinity College in Dublin where each day visitors can file past to see a page of the book. (Something to add to my bucket list)

As to the cartoon, fanciful, but not historical (though hard to tell from the trailer). Besides the the mention of the historical book, and Viking raids, the only other historical fact I could see comes from Brendan's animal companion, Pangur Bán. The name means small white cat. Pangur makes his appearance in the margins of a sacred text. It's a poem written by an unknown monk about his cat. Either the monk was bored and wrote about his kitty or he was a young monk and given the task as a penmanship exercise. Doesn't that just make you smile?

The flat, round shapes of the cartoon seem to be trying to capture the flavor of the flat drawings from medieval texts. Though the rounded shapes capture the essence of the insular script, they fall short of coming close to the intricate figures in the Book of Kells. They don't come close to the beautifully stylized medieval drawings of Disney's Sleeping Beauty.

The movie is supposed to be released to theaters in March 2010. I don't think I'll bother to waste money for a theater ticket to see it. Maybe wait until someone uploads the movie in its entirety to YouTube or Hulu or some such place.

If you want to know more about the Book of Kells. Check out The Book of Kells, an Illustrated Introduction to the Manuscript in Trinity College Dublin by Bernard Meehan. There are also a hundred or so up close and color illustrations. Gorgeous eye candy.

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