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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

Alchemy  

Laurinda Dixon

Ancient science from which modern chemistry evolved. Based on the concept of transmutation—the changing of substances at the elemental level—it was both a mechanical art and an exalted philosophy. Practitioners attempted to combine substances containing the four elements (fire, water, earth, and air) in perfect balance, ultimately perfecting them into a fifth, the quintessence (also known as the philosopher’s stone) via the chemical process of distillation. The ultimate result was a substance, the ‘philosopher’s stone’, or ‘elixir of life’, believed capable of perfecting, or healing, all material things. Chemists imitated the Christian life cycle in their operations, allegorically marrying their ingredients, multiplying them, and destroying them so that they could then be cleansed and ‘resurrected’. They viewed their work as a means of attaining salvation and as a solemn Christian duty. As such, spiritual alchemy was sanctioned, legitimized, and patronized by the Church. Its mundane laboratory procedures were also supported by secular rulers for material gain. Metallurgists employed chemical apparatus in their attempts to transmute base metals into gold, whereas physicians and apothecaries sought ultimately to distill a cure-all elixir of life. The manifold possibilities inherent in such an outcome caused Papal and secular authorities to limit and control the practice of alchemy by requiring licences and punishing those who worked without authorization....

Article

Sarit Shalev-Eyni

Thirteenth-century Ashkenazi illuminated Bible (Milan, Ambrosiana, MSS. B.30–32 INF). One of the earliest illuminated Hebrew manuscripts originating in Germany, it is a giant manuscript in three volumes, containing the twenty-four books of the Hebrew Bible. As attested by a colophon at the end of the first volume, the Bible was commissioned by Joseph ben Moses from Ulmana, possibly referring to Ulm in Swabia or to Nieder-Olm in the Rhineland. The Bible was copied by Jacob ben Samuel and was massorated and vocalized by Joseph ben Kalonymus in collaboration with another masorete. The first part was completed between 1236 and 1238. The three volumes were illuminated by two artists, whose style is related to the 13th-century school of Würzburg. Illustrations with biblical scenes are located mainly within the initial word panels of the various biblical books, or at their end. Some of the illustrations carry a messianic or eschatological meaning. A broad cosmological composition occupies an opening at the end of the third volume, suggesting an impressive climax for the entire Bible. The full page miniature on the right illustrates the seven heavens, accompanied by the four animals of Ezekiel’s vision and the luminaries (fol. 135...

Article

Béla Zsolt Szakács

Luxuriously illustrated hagiographical picture book from the 14th century. The codex is fragmented; the biggest part is preserved in the Vatican (Rome, Vatican, Bib. Apostolica, Vat. Lat. 8541, 106 fols),while single pages are kept in St Petersburg (Hermitage, 16930–16934), Berkeley (U. CA, Bancroft Lib., f2MSA2M21300–37), New York (Met., 1994.516) and Paris (Louvre, RF 29940), and 85 miniatures are in the Morgan Library, New York (M.360.1–26).

Presently 549 miniatures of the original of more than 700 are known on 142 folios. The manuscript consists of pictures exclusively, without the full texts of the legends; one-line tituli are written in rubrics beside the images. The 58 existing cycles depict the life of Christ, the Death of the Virgin, and the legends of John the Baptist, the apostles, martyrs, confessors, virgins and holy women in hierarchical order. The narrative follows the Legenda aurea or Golden Legend of Jacopo da Voragine and, in the cases of Eastern and Central European saints (Gerhard of Csanád, Ladislas, Emeric, Stanislas), other local legends, creating an extraordinarily rich iconographic treasury. The longest cycle is dedicated to James the Greater, originally with 72 scenes; other legends consist of between 2 and 24 scenes. The selection of saints points to a commission from the Hungarian Angevin court. Its style, typical of the second quarter of the 14th century, is closest to Bolognese manuscripts but with unique features, and as such Hungary has also been proposed as the place of execution....

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

Dorothy Verkerk

Illuminated manuscript of the first five books of the Old Testament (now incomplete), dating from the late 6th or early 7th century (Paris, Bib.N., MS. nouv. acq. lat. 2334) and named after the English collector Bertram Ashburnham. Also known as the Pentateuch of Tours, the Ashburnham Pentateuch is one of the oldest surviving pre-Carolingian Vulgate manuscripts of the Old Testament. In its present condition, it lacks the last verses of Numbers and all of Deuteronomy; while 18 pages of illustration and 1 frontispiece survive from the original 65 pages with illustrations. The illustrated pages comprise several scenes generally arranged in two or three bands, although some pages have one or two large scenes, others combine illustration and text. Painted tituli that follow the Vulgate accompany the miniatures; however, beneath the painted titutli are preliminary inscriptions penned in ink that follow the Vetus latina text.

Based upon stylistic, iconographical and codicological evidence, the Pentateuch appears to have been made in a late 6th- to early 7th-century Italian scriptorium. Twelve pages were added in the 8th century by scribes from Fleury; an additional restored page (fol. 33) was added in the 7th century by a Touronian scribe. The illustrations often deviate from the exact retelling of the biblical text. The column of smoke and fire, for example, in the story of the Crossing of the Red Sea is depicted as a large candle held in two hands, a reference to Easter Vigil liturgical ceremonies (fol. 68...

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

Manuscripts describing the layout of the heavens, as prescribed by Classical astronomical theory, and its perceived effect on terrestrial events. This article is concerned primarily with the Western tradition; for information on other manuscript traditions, see under the relevant geographical and cultural articles.

Astrological and astronomical configurations appear in several different types of manuscripts. The most common formula is that of the 12 zodiacal constellations in medieval and Renaissance calendars, where each zodiacal sign is used as the symbol for a particular month (see Calendar). The zodiacal signs are often paired with scenes depicting the related Labour of the Month, a tradition that may be traced back to Late Antiquity. Webster has argued that an early form appears in a Hellenistic frieze (Athens, Panagia Gorgoepikos), in which a row of standing figures representing the Greek months are interspersed at irregular intervals with zodiacal constellations. This kind of image must have been the impetus for such later manuscript illuminations as the zodiacal roundel in the ...

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

Lynette Bosch

[Pere Joan]

(fl 1477–92).

Spanish illuminator . He is known chiefly for his miniatures of Christ in Majesty (fol. 143v) and the Crucifixion (fol. 144r) in a Missal of Valencian use (Valencia, Archv Catedral, Cod. 97). This has been identified with a document of 1479 in which ‘Pere Joan’ was paid for his work on ‘la sede majestatis en el nuevo misal bisbal’. In the miniatures executed by him in this manuscript the Gothic style practised in Spain into the late 15th century has been abandoned in favour of a more naturalistic representational manner that incorporates Netherlandish elements. This more modern style has also been identified in other manuscripts attributed to Ballester. Among these are a Valencian Missal dated 1477 (London, BL, Add. MS. 34663) and a Missal of the use of Toledo (Toledo, Archv & Bib. Capitulares, MS. Res. 1). The latter was commissioned for Archbishop Alfonso Carrillo who died in ...

Article

Kirk Ambrose

(b Moscow, May 7, 1903; d Paris, Jan 25, 1988).

Lithuanian art historian, scholar of folklore and Egyptology, and diplomat of Russian birth. Son of the celebrated Lithuanian Symbolist poet of the same name, Jurgis Baltrušaitis II studied under Henri(-Joseph) Focillon at the Sorbonne and earned the PhD in 1931. The concerns of his mentor are evident in La stylistique ornementale dans la sculpture romane (1931), which reprises and extends arguments for the ‘law of the frame’ in Romanesque sculpture. Accordingly, the shapes of architectural members, such as capitals and tympana, determined the articulation of sculptural forms. This theory could account for the genesis of a wide array of monumental carvings, from foliate capitals to narrative reliefs, but ultimately it had a rather limited impact on the field of Romanesque sculptural studies. In a scathing critique, Schapiro argued that Baltrušaitis’s book—and by implication Focillon’s methods—robbed Romanesque sculptors of agency and neglected the religious and expressive meanings of this art form....

Article

Richard K. Emmerson

Illuminated Ottonian manuscript (205×295 mm; Bamberg, Staatsbibl., MS. Bibl. 140) comprising 106 folios, divided into two halves, the first containing 50 miniatures illustrating the Book of Revelation, the second with 5 full-page miniatures illustrating Gospel readings from the Nativity to Pentecost. Separating the sections are two full-page images each with two registers. On the left St Peter and St Paul crown a young ruler, who is given obeisance by personifications of the four peoples of the empire, depicted below. They recall the personifications bringing gifts to the emperor in the Gospels of Otto III (Munich, Bayer. Staatsbib., Clm. 4453). Facing this imperial scene, on the right, Old Testament figures are paired with four personifications of the victorious virtues they model for the ruler: Abraham/Obedience, Moses/Purity, David/Repentance, and Job/Patience. The Apocalypse miniatures, of varying size and interspersed within the Latin text, are painted on gold grounds. Their iconography, descending from a Roman archetype, is related to the Carolingian Valenciennes Apocalypse (early 9th century; Valenciennes, Bib. Mun., MS. 99) and the contemporary Apocalypse fresco of Novara Baptistery. The vigorous colours and sumptuous execution of the miniatures, including an early detailed ...

Article

Sheila Edmunds

[Baemler, Johann; Bemler, Hans]

(fl 1453–1504).

German illuminator and printer . He is listed in the Augsburg tax rolls from 1453 as a scribe and from 1477 as a printer. Bämler belonged to the guild of painters, glassmakers, woodcut-makers and goldbeaters, eventually achieving the rank of Zwollfer (director). Examples of his youthful work are two signed miniatures dated 1457 (New York, Pierpont Morgan Lib., MS. M.45) and a signed historiated initial on a detached Antiphonal leaf (Philadelphia, PA, Free Lib., Lewis M 67:3). Between 1466 and 1468 he rubricated and decorated with calligraphic and painted ornament four books printed in Strasbourg: a Latin Bible (Wolfenbüttel, Herzog August Bib., Bibel-S.2°155), a copy of Thomas Aquinas’s Summa theologica (Munich, Bayer Staatsbib., 2° Inc. s.a.1146a) and two copies of St Augustine’s City of God (Chantilly, Mus. Condé, XXII.D.11, and Manchester, John Rylands U. Lib., no. 3218, Inc. 3A8).

Bämler’s knowledge of printing was probably acquired in Augsburg, in the shop of ...

Article

Robert G. Calkins

[Fr.: ‘bottom of the page’]

The area of an illuminated manuscript page beneath the block of text, containing figures or scenes, usually framed by border decoration but sometimes occupying the entire bottom margin of the page. The bas-de-page first appeared in Psalters, Books of Hours, and other manuscripts for personal devotion in the second half of the 13th century and became a frequently used field for the antics of lively creatures or fanciful hybrid animals in the 14th century. Sometimes the activities of these grotesques or drolleries refer to the subject-matter of a miniature or the content of the text on the same folio, but often they depict humorous or satirical secular themes. In the Belleville Breviary (1323–6; Paris, Bib. N., MSS lat. 10483–4), the bas-de-pages of the calendar are used to develop intricate iconographical themes of the triumph of the Church and the fall of the Synagogue over the 12-month sequence, while the ...

Article

James R. Simpson

Term commonly taken as describing a range of texts, genres, and traditions both in Latin and other languages, comprising translations and reworkings of Classical fables—short texts offering pithy reflections on social, moral, and political questions—as well as extended narratives, often comic or satirical, foregrounding well-known animal characters such as Reynard the fox. This material both reflects and inspires a wealth of visual representation, including manuscript illumination (one noteworthy example being the delightfully ludic marginalia in the Smithfield Decretals, mid-14th century, French, illuminated in England; London, BL, Royal MS. 10 E. iv), stained-glass windows, as well as the legion of carved animals peering mischievously down from church roof bosses or out from under misericord seats.

Although ‘Aesop’ is widely named as a prototype and source—indeed, a common medieval French term for a fable is Ysopet (‘little Aesop’)—no actual works by this probably legendary figure exist. Instead, the fable in western Europe is principally transmitted through a complex lineage of collections attributed to figures such as Phaedrus (Latin verse, 1st century ...

Article

John Williams

[Commentarius In Apocalipsin]

Commentary on the Apocalypse composed c. ad 775 by Abbot Beatus of the monastery of St Martin in Liébana, northern Spain. There is an ‘official’ biography of Beatus, by Juan Tamayo de Salazar (d c. 1662), a collector of legends, but his date for Beatus’ death in 798 is precocious. In his own time Beatus was principally recognized as a forceful opponent of the Christological doctrine labelled Adoptionism, promoted by the Archbishop of Toledo, Elipandus. The Commentary on the Apocalypse was composed, however, from an expectation of the end of ordinary time in ad 800.

Beatus divided the text of the Apocalypse into 68 sections of typically a dozen or so verses, termed Storiae. In grouping the biblical verses rather than introducing them singly, Beatus’ format departs from most medieval exegetical approaches. Each of the Storiae was followed by a series of exegetical passages that interpret in allegorical and anagogical terms the verses or figures in the ...

Article

Patrick M. de Winter

[Biauneveu, Andrieu]

(b Valenciennes, c. 1335; d ?Bourges, 1401–3).

South Netherlandish sculptor, painter, and illuminator. He possibly trained with, or in the circle of, Jean Pépin de Huy. He is presumably the ‘Master Andrieu the painter’ mentioned in the accounts of Yolande, Duchesse de Bar, as working intermittently between 1359 and 1362 in the chapel of her castle at Nieppe (destr.). In 1361–2 ‘Master Andrieu the carver’ restored the console of a statue (both destr.) in the aldermen’s hall in Valenciennes. By October 1364 and until June 1366 he is recorded in Paris, working with assistants for King Charles V, who spoke of him as ‘our esteemed Andrieu Biauneveu, our sculptor’. The monarch commissioned from him four tombs for Saint-Denis Abbey, for which he paid 4700 gold francs: tombs for his paternal grandparents Philip VI (reg 1328–50) and Joan of Burgundy (1294–1348); for his father, John II; and for himself (first mentioned on 12 December 1364...

Article

Eberhard König

Richly illuminated Book of Hours (London, BL, Add. MS. 1885) made for an unknown patron of the French royal court (possibly the dauphin Louis, Duc de Guyenne (1396–1415). The manuscript may have been made in several stages between 1410–20.The Hours were adapted to the use of Anne of Burgundy and her husband John of Lancaster, Duke of Bedford and governor of France, after their marriage in 1423. In 1430, the book was given by Anne to Henry VI as a Christmas gift, in Rouen, after he had been crowned King of France in Paris. But it stayed in France, bearing the arms of Henry II and Catherine de’ Medici. It has a Parisian text with a cycle of 33 large miniatures, the borders have additional scenes connected with the main subject, and all are by the painter called Masters, anonymous, and monogrammists family.

The text pages display more than 1200 marginal miniatures in a unique iconography. The calendar visually plays with the names of the months and the Offices are decorated with three cycles of paired medallions. The first cycle consists of scenes from the Gospels paired with scenes from the Old Testament; the second pairs scenes from the Acts and Epistles of the Apostles with scenes from later Christian history; and the third pairs scenes from the Apocalypse with their moralizations. The suffrages at the end are accompanied by scenes from the lives and martyrdom of the saints. All of these were painted by Parisian painters such as the ...