The earliest writing appears on the cuneiform tablets and papyrus scrolls which were sometimes embellished with artwork. During the Early Christian era, scrolls were replaced by parchment codices. During the Middle Ages illuminated manuscripts reached the highest levels of artistic achievement. Examine the intricate, interlaced paintings created by medieval monks in their unmatched works of art, such as the Book of Kells. Admire the beauty of inspirational paintings burnished with brilliant color and sparkling golden highlights and historical annuals of royal courts. View masterpieces of Renaissance masters from famous European libraries, especially treasures of the Vatican. For over 1000 years, artists and calligraphers produced magnificent illustrated manuscripts until the printing press changed book production forever. Books became much less expensive and more readily available but never as beautiful.