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© Julien Cresp
Tracing Venice

Sophie Theodose

Manuscript illuminator

Sophie Theodose always loved history and Romanesque art, so it was natural that she would come across illuminations from an early age. However she decided to study fashion and went on to work in the fashion industry for close to 15 years. One day, visiting a local exhibition, she chanced upon a woman exhibiting a few illuminations, and realised it was possible to do this for a living, that “there are people who do dare to this!” Certain this was what she wanted to do, she abandoned the fashion industry and contacted Benoit Cazelle, an illumination artist in Normandy, who took her on as an apprentice. “For me it was obvious. This was what I wanted to do, it just took me a while to get there,” she says.


Illumination is an art that has its roots in the early Middle Ages, originally aiming to "bring light" into ancient manuscripts through the use of gold leaf. The illuminator unveils an ancestral savoir-faire in which the gesture, precise and meticulous, is of great importance. The precious materials used in this craft – parchment, pigments, gold, silver and copper – bring a luxurious feel to the final creations. After preparing her parchment, the artisan draws the patterns in ink, creating working areas surrounded by black. It is then embellished with gold leaf and layers of coloured pigment, highlighted with white.

Objects Magnae Chartae Exhibition Contact
11 Rue Saint Jacques, 78100, Saint Germain en laye, France
+33 609893322
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