Recent Publications | January 8, 2021

Les Enluminures Publishes Book on Medieval Scribe Joel ben Simeon

Courtesy of Les Enluminures

The Veneta Siddur and Sefer Minhagim of Joel ben Simeon (Ashkenazic rite, use of Ulm) In Hebrew, manuscript on parchment, dated 1449-50, decoration added c. 1470.

Paris — The latest publication of Les Enluminures focuses on the Veneto Siddur-Sefer Minhagim, a Hebrew manuscript newly attributed to the artist-scribe Joel ben Simeon, made for a Jewish immigrant family from Germany probably living in Treviso. Joel ben Simeon (active c. 1440s-c. 1490) is one of the most famous figures in late medieval Hebrew manuscript production. Born in Germany, he spent most of his career in northern Italy as an itinerant craftsman.

Previously unrecorded in the extensive literature on Joel ben Simeon, the present manuscript includes the earliest known copy of this version of the Sefer Minhagim, written in 1449/1450, and more than 500 pen and ink drawings added by Joel around 14 70, thus significantly increasing the artist's corpus. Illustrated Hebrew manuscripts are exceptionally rare on the market.

Courtesy of Les Enluminures

Included here are fresh observations on the life and works of Joel ben Simeon and on the place of the Veneto Siddur-Sefer Minhagim in his career. A contribution by Lucia Raspe on Ashkenazi Jews in fifteenth-century Italy sets the stage for Joel ben Simeon's activities. Appendices provide the first comprehensive guide to his signed and attributed manuscripts.

The second volume in our Satellite Series, I am the Scribe, Joel ben Simeon, aims to bring the artist to a wider public, exploring connections between Jewish and Christian manuscript production and cutting across religious and cultural boundaries to present a more inclusive history of art in fifteenth-century Europe.

Founded by Dr. Sandra Hindman nearly thirty years ago and with locations in Paris, Chicago, and New York, Les Enluminures has forged long-standing relationships with major museums and prestigious private collections throughout the world. Sandra Hind-man is author, coauthor, or editor of more than a dozen books on the history and reception of illuminated manuscripts and on medieval rings.