Sarah Cascone: Artnet

Medievalists may have to reconsider long-held assumptions about who, exactly, painted all those gorgeous illuminated manuscripts. The intricate role of the scribe has been popularly attributed to medieval monks, but many of those artists may have actually been nuns.

When examining a woman’s skeleton from a monastery complex at Dalheim, Germany, Anita Radini of the archaeology department at the University of York was shocked to discover blue dental tartar. Testing eventually revealed that it was lapis lazuli, and the most likely cause is that the woman worked as an artist, licking her paint brush, or inhaling dust while grinding the expensive ultramarine stone used to make the rare pigment. …Read More

Pictured: Traces of lapis lazuli were found in the dental tartar of a woman who lived at a 12-century German monastery, leading researchers to believe she was a highly skilled artist who worked on illuminated manuscripts. Courtesy of Science Advances.