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Article

Jane Geddes

Deluxe manuscript (Aberdeen, U. Lib., MS. 24) made in England around 1200. It is remarkable for its lavish illustrations, amply covered in gold leaf; for the wealth of its codicological data and for its close relationship to the Ashmole Bestiary. The book was left unfinished, so sketches and the detailed instructions for its colouring and assembly remain visible. The last few pages were completed in the 14th century. The book begins with a Creation cycle of full-page miniatures culminating in Adam Naming the Animals and Christ in Majesty. A portrait or narrative illustration of each animal precedes every text description.

The manuscript contains the press mark of King Henry VIII’s library, mainly assembled after the dissolution of the monasteries, but its provenance before 1542 is not known. Muratova (1986, pp. 118–144) uses cumulative information from a group of related manuscripts to suggest a provenance in the north-east Midlands; Geddes (...

Article

A. Gerhardt

Benedictine abbey on the River Enns in Styria, Austria. It was founded in the mid-11th century by Bishop Gebhard from Salzburg, endowed by St Henna von Gurk, Gräfin von Friessach (d 1045), and settled by Benedictine monks from St Peter’s, Salzburg under Abbot Isingrin. The Romanesque minster (consecrated 1074), which was dedicated to St Blaise, was famous for its marble columns and was rebuilt after a fire in 1152; a Gothic choir was added in 1276–86. The present church incorporates Romanesque side doors as well as other fragments. The abbey became an important cultural centre with a renowned scriptorium. Amongst the many famous scholars there was Abbot Engelbert of Admont (reg 1297–1327). From 1121 to the 16th century a convent was attached to the abbey. Under the abbots Mathias Preininger (reg 1615–28) and Urban Weber (reg 1628–59) the whole establishment was transformed in the Baroque style, and the church was rebuilt (...

Article

Artistic manifestations of Arthurian legends antedate surviving textual traditions and sometimes bear witness to stories that have not survived in written form. Thus the Tristan sculptures (c. 1102–17) carved on a column from the north transept of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela show that the story was in circulation at least a generation before the earliest surviving written text was composed. The one surviving manuscript of Béroul’s Tristan is unillustrated, while the fragments of Thomas’s version include a single historiated initial showing Tristan playing the harp (Oxford, Bodleian Lib., MS. Fr. d. 16, fol. 10). Although Eilhart von Oberge’s Tristrant, composed in the late 12th century, is the earliest version of the Tristan story to survive complete, the only surviving illustrated copy dates from the 15th century (c. 1465–75; Heidelberg, UBib., Cpg 346), while the Munich manuscript of Gottfried von Strassburg’s Tristan was made in south Germany ...

Article

Debra Higgs Strickland

Richly illustrated bestiary manuscript (275×185mm, 105 fols; Oxford, Bodleian Lib., Ashmole 1511), written in Latin and illuminated probably in southern England around 1210. The original patron is unknown. It contains the text and illustrations of a complete bestiary, with prefatory Creation scenes and excerpts from Genesis and part of Hugh de Folieto’s Aviarium (Book of Birds). It is a luxury manuscript with lavish use of gold leaf, sometimes tooled, in the backgrounds of the full-page miniatures and numerous smaller framed animal ‘portraits’. Its images are especially notable for their ornamental qualities, evident in both the pictorial compositions and a wide variety of geometric framing devices. The prefatory cycle includes a full-page miniature of Adam Naming the Animals. The Ashmole Bestiary is considered a ‘sister’ manuscript to the Aberdeen Bestiary (Aberdeen, U. Lib., MS. 24), to which it is iconographically very closely related, but owing to major stylistic differences the two manuscripts have been attributed to different artists. The chronological relationship between the two has been disputed: based on proposed workshop methods, Muratova (...

Article

Sophie Page

Astrology is the art of predicting events on earth as well as human character and disposition from the movements of the planets and fixed stars. Medieval astrology encompassed both general concepts of celestial influence, and the technical art of making predictions with horoscopes, symbolic maps of the heavens at particular moments and places constructed from astronomical information. The scientific foundations of the art were developed in ancient Greece, largely lost in early medieval Europe and recovered by the Latin West from Arabic sources in the 12th and 13th centuries. Late medieval astrological images were successfully Christianized and were adapted to particular contexts, acquired local meanings and changed over time.

Astrology developed into a scientific branch of learning in ancient Greece, but because of the opposition of the Church Fathers it was transmitted to early medieval Europe in only fragmentary form in technically unsophisticated textbooks and popular divinatory genres. Literary and scientific texts provided more general ideas about the nature and attributes of the planets which were influential on later iconography. The first significant astrological images appear in 11th-century illustrated astronomical texts (e.g. London, BL, Cotton MS. Tiberius BV), which were acquired and produced by monasteries to aid with time-keeping and the construction of the Christian calendar....

Article

Charles Buchanan

Type of large-format Bible, usually found in pandect (single-volume) form, produced in central Italy and Tuscany from around 1060 to the middle of the 12th century. They came out of the efforts of a reformist papacy intent on wresting control over ecclesiastical investiture from the Holy Roman Emperor. The Giant Bibles were produced in reformed canonries and monasteries and then exported to the same, not only in Italy but throughout Europe.

The term ‘Atlantic’ (from the mythological giant Atlas) is derived from their impressive size; dimensions range from 550 to 600 mms by 300 to 400 mms. Their script, derived from Caroline minuscule, is placed in two columns of around fifty-five lines. The texts are decorated with two initial types, which Edward B. Garrison designated as ‘geometrical’ and ‘full shaft’, both of which are derived from Carolingian and Ottonian exemplars, respectively. The iconography consists of full-length prophets, patriarchs, kings and saints as well as narrative scenes. The last are at times found as full-page cyclical illuminations and preface important textual divisions, especially Genesis. The iconography of the Giant Bibles is a specific Roman iconographical recension with its sources based in part on Early Christian pictorial cycles, such as the wall paintings of Old St Peter’s in Rome. These came from an era considered by the reformers to have been uncorrupted by the abuses that afflicted the Church when these Bibles were being made. While the Giant Bibles were promulgated by the Church of Rome as a symbol of its supreme authority, they also allowed the clergy to perform the liturgy, and the Divine Office in particular, properly....

Article

Robert G. Calkins

Book that describes and draws Christian moralizations from the characteristics and habits of animals, birds, fish, reptiles, and even minerals, real and imaginary. It was especially popular during the Middle Ages in western Europe. Its core early Christian text, partly informed by Indian, Hebrew, and Egyptian legends and known as the Physiologus (often translated as ‘The Naturalist’ or ‘Natural Historian’, but perhaps more appropriately understood as the ‘Philosopher of Natural History’), was originally composed in Greek, probably in Alexandria during the first half of the 2nd century AD. Ethiopian, Syrian, and Armenian translations of the Greek text appeared by the 5th century. A Latin translation, possibly available in the 4th century, was circulating by the early 6th. A fragmentary Old English poetic text dates from the first half of the 8th century. In the earliest Latin Bestiaries (12th century), the Physiologus text is interpolated with excerpts from the De animalibus...

Article

Bobbio  

Michael Richter

Monastery in Emilia-Romagna, Italy. Approximately 50 km south of Piacenza in the Apennines, it was founded c. ad 613 through the cooperation of the Lombard king Agilulf (reg 590–615) and the Irish abbot and saint Columbanus (c. 540–615). Its nucleus was an older dilapidated church dedicated to St Peter. Columbanus died on 23 November 615, but his name and renown remained alive in the following centuries. Through cooperation with the Lombard monarchs as well as later the Carolingian kings, Bobbio became a very prominent monastery in Northern Italy. In 628 it was granted the earliest monastic exemption from supervision by the local diocesan, the bishop of Tortona. The community of Bobbio apparently lived according to the Rule of Columbanus as well as the Rule of Basil of Caesarea. The presence of the Rule of St Benedict cannot be documented there before the early 9th century. Bobbio became a known not only as a centre of Irish learning but also as a centre of grammatical as well as computational studies. Its early library also contained Classical texts as well as important palimpsests (a ‘catalogue’ survives from the late 9th century). In the late 9th and early 10th centuries (a period of economic decline) important illuminated manuscripts were produced there. The abbatial church was rebuilt under Abbot Agilulf (...

Article

Nigel J. Morgan

Manuscript (514×353 mm; Cambridge, Corpus Christi Coll., MS. 2) identified with a Bible recorded in the Gesta sacristarum of Bury St Edmunds Abbey. It is described as having been commissioned by the Sacrist, Hervey, in the time of his brother, Prior Talbot (c. 1125–38), and illuminated by Master Hugo. From this information a date of c. 1135 has been suggested for its production. Full-page painted miniatures (see Romanesque, §IV, 2, (vi)) survive at the beginning of six of the biblical books, and there are also historiated initials. These are painted in strong colours dominated by reds, blues, greens, and purple. Although this palette is in some ways similar to that of the St Albans style evident in the Life and Miracles of St Edmund (New York, Morgan Lib., MS. M. 736), a manuscript produced at Bury a few years earlier and probably painted by the artist of the St Albans Psalter (...

Article

In the 20th century, discussion of the relationship between Byzantine art and the art of the Latin West evolved in tandem with scholarship on Byzantine art itself. Identified as the religious imagery and visual and material culture of the Greek Orthodox Empire based at Constantinople between ad 330 and 1453, studies of Byzantine art often encompassed Post-Byzantine art and that of culturally allied states such as Armenian Cilicia, Macedonia, and portions of Italy. As such fields as Palaiologan family manuscripts and wall paintings, Armenian manuscripts, and Crusader manuscripts and icons emerged, scholars identified new intersections between Western medieval and Byzantine art. Subtle comparisons emerged with the recognition that Byzantine art was not static but changed over time in style and meaning, although most analyses identified Byzantine art as an accessible reservoir of the naturalistic, classicizing styles of antiquity. Scholars considering the 7th-century frescoes at S Maria Antiqua and mosaics at S Maria in Cosmedin, both in Rome, and the 8th-century frescoes at Castelseprio and Carolingian manuscripts such as the Coronation Gospels of Charlemagne (Vienna, Schatzkam. SCHK XIII) used formal comparisons with works such as pre-iconoclastic icons at St Catherine’s Monastery on Sinai, along with the history of Byzantine iconoclasm, to argue for the presence of Greek painters in the West. Similarly, Ottonian and Romanesque painting and luxury arts, such as ivories, provided examples of the appropriation of Byzantine imperial imagery. Yet the study of works such as the great 12th-century ...

Article

Don Denny

Numerical list of concordant passages in the Gospels, devised in the early 4th century by the historian Eusebios of Caesarea. Such tables indicate passages to be found in all four Gospels, those found in two or three of the Gospels and those unique to a particular Gospel. In medieval manuscripts they appear as a series of pages, varying from seven to as many as nineteen, placed at the front of Gospel books and often included, preceding the Gospels, in full Bibles. It was customary to surround them with ornament and, despite the wide geographical and chronological range of this practice, the basic decorative format remained fairly constant. The tables are divided and framed by representations of architectural columns surmounted by arcades or, occasionally, pediments; pictorial matter is concentrated in the upper part of the design, which might contain decorative and symbolic bird and plant motifs as well as more explicit illustrative features, such as the Evangelist symbols or the Twelve Apostles. In Eastern manuscripts the tables are sometimes preceded by two or three pages of introductory text, similarly framed by architectural designs, and a further page of related ornament (e.g. a tempietto) might be included at the beginning or end....

Article

Charter  

James D’Emilio

Legal document typically written in documentary script on a single parchment sheet and authenticated by subscriptions, notarial signs or seals. In archives, originals were sometimes stitched into booklets or rolls. Notarial charters were registered, while deeds of ecclesiastical and civil institutions were copied in cartularies organized by place, date or issuer. Charters include contracts, property transactions, marriage agreements, dispute settlements, official privileges and decrees.

Besides their value as historical documents, collections of early medieval charters, such as those at St Gall, Lucca or Catalonia, furnish insights into law, literacy and linguistic change. In the mid- to late Middle Ages, the texts, scripts and physical features of papal bulls, charters from monastic or episcopal scriptoria, and the burgeoning output of royal chanceries and civil notaries chart pathways of education and cultural exchange geographically and through social strata. In relation to medieval art, charters have fourfold importance. As historical sources, some document artists, patrons or artworks. Signed and dated originals of known provenance help to date manuscripts and reveal practices of scribes and scriptoria responsible for book production and illumination. In contrast with the dearth of medieval artists’ signatures, signed charters represent a sizeable corpus of securely attributed work with ample contextual information that facilitates study of individual style and artistic careers. Lastly, some are of artistic interest for their execution in a book hand or embellishment with decoration comparable to that in manuscripts: decorated lettering; calligraphic flourishes; the chrismon, cross and other religious symbols; validation signs, monograms and seals; and, rarely, illuminations....

Article

Patricia Stirnemann

English illuminated Psalter (Copenhagen, Kon. Bib., MS. Thott 143 2°), made in the late 12th century. The Copenhagen Psalter is a royal Psalter and the story of its making involves three countries, the papal schism, and the expanding presence of the Augustinian Canons in northern Europe, Scandinavia, and England, where they were known as the Austin Canons. The manuscript, which has clear Austin elements in its calendar, was made in northern England, probably in Lincoln, in the later 12th century, apparently before the canonization of St Thomas Becket in 1173, for his name is absent from the calendar and litanies. Five or six English artists participated in painting its exquisite miniatures of the Life of Christ and 166 historiated and decorated initials. Until recently the Psalter was thought to have been made for an English royal patron, even though obital notices in the calendar indicate that the book belonged to the Danish royal family in the 13th century. Furthermore, the intended recipient must have been very young, because the Pater noster is preceded by an alphabet, indicating that the book was to be used in part as a primer....

Article

Laura Minervini

[‘The Art of Hunting with Birds’]

Treatise on falconry and ornithology written c. 1240 by Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II (see Hohenstaufen family §(2)). Keen on hunting with birds, Frederick II based his work both on personal experience and on the available written sources, notably Aristotle’s zoological texts translated by his court astrologer Michael Scotus. The Latin text is preserved in seven manuscripts, two in a two-book version and five in a six-book version; the latter form is probably closer to the original, but still incomplete. Moreover, a fragment from the fourth book has been found in a miscellaneous Latin manuscript. The short version of the Latin text was translated twice into French (14th–15th centuries), with five extant manuscripts. All in all, Frederick’s treatise was not very successful, especially if compared with less ambitious but more practical texts, such as the Liber magistri Moamini falconerii (27 extant manuscripts), a Latin translation of an Arabic text, drawn up before ...

Article

One of the few surviving, early medieval, Latin technical treatises. Its attribution, localization, and dating rest largely on internal evidence variously interpreted and inconclusive. The treatise now comprises three books: it is generally agreed that Books I and II, written in verse by one hand at some time between the 7th and 12th centuries, constitute the original text; Book III, written in prose, was added piecemeal during the 12th and 13th centuries. The treatise is commonly attributed to (H)Eraclius, who is cited as the author in Books I and III but probably wrote only Books I and II. It is not known whether he was a native of Italy or a northerner promoting his knowledge of Roman techniques, and accordingly De coloribus has been located to either Italy or northern Europe.

Relatively complete versions of the text survive in two manuscripts, both accompanied by Theophilus’s treatise De diversis artibus (extracts of the text within compilations of technical material are more common): the first (ex-Trinity Coll., Cambridge, MS. R. 15 5; London, BL, Egerton MS. 840 A) is German and dated ...

Article

M. Heinlen

Essentially a papal letter concerning a matter of canonical discipline. Throughout the Middle Ages numerous collections of decretals were compiled, which served as the basis of ecclesiastical administration and canon law; in the 12th century they began to be extensively illustrated. Between the 12th and 15th centuries illustrated canon law manuscripts, primarily comprising decretals, were made and used throughout western Europe, with major centres of production located in such university cities as Paris and Bologna. These books, along with civil law manuscripts, are numerically the most important type of non-liturgical manuscript illustrated in the medieval period, and a wide range of stylistic developments is represented in the hundreds of extant examples.

The earliest illustrations in decretal manuscripts are Trees of Consanguinity and Affinity. These full-page schemata depict degrees of familial relationships in order to demonstrate the legal implications of marriage bonds. The Tree of Consanguinity shows a man standing with outstretched arms before a tree containing the Table of Consanguinity; the affinities were similarly depicted but also included a woman. These illustrations first appeared in manuscripts of the ...

Article

Kathryn B. Gerry

Extensively illuminated triple psalter (460×330 mm; Cambridge, Trinity Coll., MS. R.17.1) made at Christ Church, Canterbury, in the 1150s with material added in the 1160s. Modelled in part on the Utrecht Psalter (Utrecht, Bib. Rijksuniv., MS. 32). The Eadwine Psalter contains three Latin versions of the psalms in parallel columns: Gallicanum (accompanied by a Latin gloss), Romanum (with interlinear Old English translation), and Hebraicum (with interlinear Anglo-Norman translation). Each psalm is accompanied by a tinted drawing, tituli, preface and collect; the text of the psalms is followed by a prayer naming the scribe Eadwine (fol. 262r), and several canticles and creeds. The manuscript also includes a calendar and other prefatory texts (fols 1r–5v), a marginal note related to a comet (fol. 10r), texts on divination (fols 282r, 282v), a portrait of Eadwine (fol. 283v), and a plan of the monastic compound of Christ Church and its waterworks (fols 284...

Article

Elizabeth Sears

Term anachronistically applied to a wide range of antique and medieval works of a compendious character, which were often provided with extensive cycles of didactic illustration. The boundaries of the genre are difficult to set, for the content, scale, structure, stated aims, and intended audiences of the works vary considerably. All contain comprehensive descriptions of the natural world—celestial and terrestrial—often in conjunction with information from other fields, for example history or ethics. The material, drawn from sources approved by tradition, is normally presented not alphabetically but according to systems of the author’s devising. The compilations are often simply called ‘On the nature of things’, but sometimes more evocative metaphoric titles are employed: ‘image’ or ‘mirror’ of the world, ‘garden of delights’, ‘treasure’. The works, each containing a library of information in small compass, were intended to be of practical use, especially to commentators on the Bible. They served an edifying function by bringing the reader to the knowledge and love of the Creator....

Article

Robert G. Calkins

Long scrolls, usually of parchment, containing the music and words of the liturgical chant for the Easter Vigil. Named after the opening word of the chant announcing Easter, ‘Exultet iam angelica turba coelorum …’, these rolls were used during the ceremony of the blessing and lighting of the Easter Candle, which symbolizes both the Pillar of Fire that led the Israelites through the wilderness and the Resurrection of Christ, the Light of the World, on Easter Day. This liturgy, derived from the Pontifical, is attributed to Bishop Landolfo I of Benevento (reg 957–82) and became widespread among the churches in southern Italy dominated by Montecassino Abbey. As a result, such scrolls were prevalent in the Benevento and around Montecassino from the 10th to the 13th centuries (see Montecassino, §2, (i)).

Although they served a liturgical function, these scrolls were primarily ceremonial display pieces. Decorated with large elaborate interlace initials in the Beneventan style, they also contain miniatures painted in a Byzantinizing style. The miniatures were often painted upside down in relation to the text, so that when the scrolls were draped over the pulpit and the deacon intoned the words of the chant, the congregation could see the succession of illustrations right side up (e.g. Bari, Mus. Dioc., Cod. 1)....

Article

Danielle B. Joyner

From the time John Cassian established the first female foundation in Marseille in ad 410, monastic women lived in varying states of enclosure and were surrounded by diverse images and objects that contributed to their devotion, education and livelihood. The first rule for women, written in 512 by St Caesarius of Arles, emphasized their strict separation from men and the world, as did the Periculoso, a directive issued by Pope Boniface VIII (reg 1294–1303) in 1298. Various architectural solutions developed throughout the Middle Ages to reconcile the necessities of enclosure with the access required by male clerics to celebrate Mass and provide pastoral care. Nuns’ choirs, where the women would gather for their daily prayers, were often constructed as discreet spaces in the church, which allowed women to hear or see the Mass without interacting with the cleric, as in the 10th-century choir in the eastern transept gallery at St Cyriakus in Gernrode, Germany. In some Cistercian examples, the nuns’ choir appeared at the west end of the nave. Dominican and Franciscan architecture was largely varied. Double monasteries, which housed men and women, also required careful construction. A 7th-century text describing the church of St Brigida in ...