From the French term "enlumine", meaning to brighten and associated with gold and silver, it is the art of manuscript decoration with designs, calligraphy and pictures. Illumination was especially prevalent in Medieval art but declined after the 15th Century. Egyptian papyrus rolls including "The Book of the Dead" are the oldest discovered Illuminations and continued through the Greek, Roman and Byzantine civilizations and also into the Middle East. In Medieval Europe, Catholic monks did most of the manuscript illumination. Sources: Ralph Mayer, "A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques"; Kimberley Reynolds & Richard Seddon, "Illustrated Dictionary of Art Terms"(LPD)

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