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The Book of Kells and its Artistic Secrets

Thursday 9 January 2014

THE BOOK OF KELLS is an astonishing work of art — brilliantly imaginative, bedecked with dazzling colour, and full of witticisms and joie de vivre. At the same time, it is a profound and deeply religious work. Although regarded as one of the masterpieces of Christian art, very little is known about the circumstances in which it was made and why it remained unfinished. The sumptuous ornament — extraordinarily minute and precise — has excited wonder for hundreds of years and, even today, it is hard to envisage how it was made.

In this lecture, ROGER STALLEY will explore the many mysteries of the book, showing how digital technology is gradually trans-forming our appreciation and understanding of Ireland’s most famous work of art.

Until his retirement three years ago, Roger Stalley was Professor of the History of Art at Trinity College, Dublin.

He has written many books and articles on medieval art, covering a wide range of topics including sculpture, architecture and painting.

Although best known for his books on The Cistercian Monasteries of Ireland

(1987) and Early Medieval Architecture (1999), in recent years he has developed a particular interest in the Book of Kells.

He is an elected member of both the Royal Irish Academy and Academia Europaea.

Pictures of the event

The Book of Kells and its Artistic Secrets

  • Professor Roger Stalley


  • Professor Roger Stalley


  • Mr. Philippe Blanchi, Library Trustee, with Professor Roger Stalley


  • Professor Roger Stalley during his lecture with text from the Book of Kells in the background


Due to the Covid-19 epidemic, the Princess Grace Irish Library is closed to the public until further notice