Anglo‐Norman Martyrology: Picture Book of Madame Marie

Anglo‐Norman Martyrology: Picture Book of Madame Marie

Northern France — 1285–1290

Created in Westminster, later the property of the Dukes of Burgundy: the unsparing depictions of the agonies of famous saints and martyrs in 87 full-page miniatures

  1. This magnificent Gothic manuscript realistically and movingly depicts the agonies of famous saints and martyrs in 87 miniatures

  2. Blood, broken bones, severed heads, and undressed bodies in golden miniatures

  3. The work was first recorded in the inventory of the Burgundian Duke Philip the Bold (1342–1404)

Anglo‐Norman Martyrology: Picture Book of Madame Marie

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  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Anglo‐Norman Martyrology: Picture Book of Madame Marie

Sometime in the second half of the 13th century, an unbelievably impressive illustrated manuscript originated in Anglo-Norman Westminster. The Anglo‐Norman Martyrology contains 87 full-page miniatures, which realistically and unsparingly depict the agonies of famous saints and martyrs in scene. The unique manuscript has been in the possession of the dukes of Burgundy since the early 15th century, and was first mentioned in the inventory of Philip the Bold.

Anglo‐Norman Martyrology: Picture Book of Madame Marie

The manuscript at hand is a medieval picture book par excellence. The martyrology contains 87 full-page miniatures with short inscriptions underneath the pictures within its 110 pages. Based on this, historians assume that the work was a book of hours. It contains the typical components of a book of hours, e.g. a calendar and illustrations of the martyrdom of the saints. Having said that, this private devotional book is missing the tables for the canonical hours and the specific liturgical prayers. The Anglo‐Norman Martyrology occupies a unique position in the history of literature.

An Interesting Provenance

The so-called Picture Book of Madame Marie is first recorded in the inventory of the Burgundian Duke Philip the Bold in the year 1405. He bequeathed this manuscript to his son John the Fearless. In the year 1467, the precious manuscript found itself in the possession of Philip the Good. The codex probably already originated in the second half of the 13th century. The images of the gothic masterpiece are indicative of the style of the Anglo-Norman illumination from Westminster. The original title of the picture book was The First Apocalypse from Westminster. The artist responsible for the work has never been determined.

Dramatic Scenes

The expressive, colorful images of the work present richly detailed scenes of gothic painting to the beholder. The characteristic personality traits, social status, or historical attributes of people were illustrated. The agonies, which the saints and martyrs of the legends had to suffer, were expressed unsparingly here. For example, a miniature shows a naked man being roasted on a grill (St. Lawrence). Another scene shows a person strapped to a tree, their body pierced with arrows (St. Sebastian). The book stages well-known legends of martyrdom with unvarnished realism – blood, broken bones, severed heads, and disemboweled bodies – with an excellent use of line and intense colors. Such imagery requires no long texts for explanation.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Martiriologe des Saints: Le livre d'images de Madame Marie
Martirologio Anglonormando: Libro de Imágenes de Madame Marie
Anglo-Normannisches Martyrologium: Bilderbuch der Madame Marie
El libro de imagenes de Madame Marie
Martiriologio Anglonormando: le livre d'images de Madame Marie
Images de la vie du Christ et des saints
Size / Format
220 pages / 18.0 × 12.8 cm
Origin
France
Date
1285–1290
Style
Script
Gothic Rotunda Gothic Semiquadrata
Illustrations
87 richly colored, masterful full-page miniatures and 12 large gold initials
Content
Cistercian calendar, table of legends, Vita Christi, martyrology
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Duke Philip the Bold of Burgundy (1342–1404)
Duke John the Fearless of Burgundy (1371–1419)
Duke Philip the Good of Burgundy (1396–1467)
Margaret Angelique d’Oÿenbrüghe de Duras
Pierre Van Lierde
Lazare Carnot (1753–1823)
Jeanne-Pierrette Carnot (1751–1825)
A. Dupont Carnot
Fély Bertrand
François Carnot (1837–94)

Available facsimile editions:
Anglo‐Norman Martyrology: Picture Book of Madame Marie – NAF 16251 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Club Bibliófilo Versol – Madrid, 2010
Limited Edition: 575 copies
Detail Picture

Anglo‐Norman Martyrology: Picture Book of Madame Marie

Martyrdom of St. Nicasius and St. Eutropia of Rheims

Saint Nicasius was the first bishop of Rheims in the 5th century and prophesied that the city would be attacked by the Vandals. According to legend, the barbarians struck off his head as he recited a Psalm, and thus is depicted as one of the cephalophores - a martyred saint carrying their own severed head. The Vandals initially wanted to spare his beautiful virgin sister Eutropia, but she attacked her brother’s killer, clawing at his eyes. She too was thus killed and became Saint Eutropia.

Martirologio Anglonormando: Libro de Imágenes de Madame Marie
Single Page

Anglo‐Norman Martyrology: Picture Book of Madame Marie

St. Margaret of Antioch

According to legend, St. Margaret, having sworn her virginity to God, refused to marry the Roman governor of her province and renounce her faith. She was swallowed by Satan in the shape of a dragon but escaped when the cross she carried irritated the Dragon’s innards. Despite her martyrdom, St. Margaret is depicted with the cheerful expression that is typical of English Gothic art.

One is immediately struck by the balanced composition of the image and the richness of the pigments used for this miniature page. The deep opaque shades of red, blue, green, and orange are complemented by the gold leaf frame, halo, cross, and pointed arches. Subtle patterns can be found in both the red background and in the blue architecture above.

Martirologio Anglonormando: Libro de Imágenes de Madame Marie
Facsimile Editions

#1 Martirologio Anglonormando: Libro de Imágenes de Madame Marie

Club Bibliófilo Versol – Madrid, 2010
Anglo‐Norman Martyrology: Picture Book of Madame Marie – NAF 16251 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Anglo‐Norman Martyrology: Picture Book of Madame Marie – NAF 16251 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France) Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: Club Bibliófilo Versol – Madrid, 2010
Limited Edition: 575 copies
Binding: Leather on board with gold embossings
Commentary: 1 volume
Language: Spanish
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: €€€ (3,000€ - 7,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
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