Thursday, February 24, 2011

Illuminated Manuscript, Gospels of Freising, Evangelist Portrait of Luke, Walters Art Museum Ms. W.4, fol. 126v

This Gospel Book was written in Carolingian minuscule in the diocese of Freising, Germany ca. 875. Surprisingly small for an Gospel Book, it is nonetheless richly illuminated and offers an excellent example of Carolingian art. The expressive and emotive quality of the Evangelists, characterized by quick, sketchy brushwork, recalls the style developed by the Carolingian school of Reims in Northern France. This similarity may be attributed to a connection with Ebbo, the former Archbishop of Reims, since he fled to Freising at this time after a quarrel with Charles the Bald. The canon tables, however, derive from a different tradition, and recall Franco-Saxon imagery in its use of interlace within the columns, and of acanthus springing from the top corners. Due to these factors, the manuscript had once been attribution to Northern France, but it is now understood to be one of a group of related manuscripts from Freising during Ebbo's tenure. The manuscript is complete, consisting of 215 folios, and includes readings for the liturgical year, Jerome's Plures Fuisse and Novum Opus letters, decorated canon tables, and Evangelist portraits. The illumination is at the beginning of Luke's Gospel.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Illuminated Manuscript, Duke Albrecht's Table of Christian Faith (Winter Part), The Symbols of the Four Evangelists, Walters Art Museum Ms. W.171, fol. 156r

This illuminated manuscript is a document of the first importance in the history of Dutch manuscript illumination, and it contains an important medieval Dutch devotional text. The Tafel van den Kersten Ghelove is a compendium of Christian knowledge written by a learned Dominican, Dirc van Delf. The text is in two parts, one for winter, and one for summer. This manuscript is of the winter part, and it is incomplete, omitting the prologue and chapters 13,14, and 35-72. The arms of the Bavarian Counts of Holland and the kneeling owner on fol. 1 indicate that this manuscript was the actual copy prepared for the dedicatee of the text, Albrecht of Bavaria, Count of Holland, from the original text of his chaplain, and is therefore to be dated to 1404 at the latest, when Albrecht died. The manuscript consists of 165 folios and contains 35 historiated initials.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Illuminated Manuscript, Bible Pictures by William de Brailes, The first two days of Creation, Walters Art Museum Ms. W.106, fol. 1r

A volume comprising twenty-four leaves of Bible Pictures by W. de Brailes, an English artist active in Oxford in the middle of the thirteenth century. Seven leaves from the same set of images are now in the Musee Marmottan in Paris. These 31 leaves are all that remain of an image cycle that once contained at least 98 miniatures, and which was the longest cycle of Bible miniatures surviving from the thirteenth century in England. In all probability these Bible Pictures were actually prefatory matter to a Psalter, now Stockholm, National Museum, Ms. B.2010. De Brailes also composed and wrote the captions that accompany many of the images. W. de Brailes is one of only two English artists of the thirteenth century whose name we can associate with surviving works. 11 manuscripts have been identified that contain miniatures in his hand. De Brailes has a quirky and chatty style, and he was extremely gifted at turning Bible Stories into paint.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Illuminated Manuscript Anthology of Persian poetry, Walters Art Museum Ms. W.653, fol. 17a

This small anthology of Persian poetry consisting of poems by such authors as Jāmī, Azārī, Fayz̤ī, Navāʾī, and Saʿdī was put together by an anonymous scribe in 1105 AH / 1693 CE. Illustrated with six miniatures, the margins of this manuscript are embellished with stenciled designs of angels, men and animals. The page represents a seated young man reading from a book of Persian poetry.

See this manuscript page by page at the Walters Art Museum website:

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Illuminated Manuscript, Gospels, Walters Art Museum Ms. W.592, fol. 23a

This illuminated and illustrated Arabic manuscript of the Gospels by Matthew (Mattá), Mark (Marquṣ), Luke (Lūqā), and John (Yūḥannā) was copied in Egypt by Ilyās Bāsim Khūrī Bazzī Rāhib, who was most likely a Coptic monk, in Anno Mundi 7192 / 1684 CE. The text is written in naskh in black ink with rubrics in red. Jesus raises a ruler’s daughter from the dead.

Illuminated Manuscript Koran, The right side of a double-page excipit, Walters Art Museum MS. W.557, fol.284b

This is the right side of an illuminated double-page excipit. The text is chapter 114 (Sūrat al-nās), which is written in a decorative New Abbasid (broken cursive) style.