Apocalypse of Lorraine

Apocalypse of Lorraine Facsimile Edition

Metz (France) — First half of the 14th century

A Gothic Apocalypse in vernacular: a visually stunning masterpiece with 72 magnificent miniatures in silver and gold against lavishly patterned backgrounds

  1. The Book of Revelation in a splendid vernacular manuscript originating in early-14th century Lorraine

  2. It was commissioned by a wealthy and sophisticated patron in Metz, as evidenced by the rich use of gold and silver

  3. Figures appear expressive and natural in the 72 richly colored miniatures with diligently patterned backgrounds

Apocalypse of Lorraine

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  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Apocalypse of Lorraine

The Book of Revelation, better known during the Middle Ages as the Apocalypse, is one of the most enigmatic and fascinating books of the Bible and also provided marvelous opportunities for illuminators and miniaturists to express their artistic talent. The fantastic imagery of these often-terrifying events yielded some of the greatest works medieval art, including this fine specimen of Gothic illumination. 72 richly colored miniatures, with either shimmering gold leaf backgrounds or intricately patterned backgrounds, illustrate the incredible events. Instead of Latin, the work was written in the medieval Lothringian dialect for a presumably lay patron in Metz. Altogether, it is both an exemplary specimen of an Apocalypse manuscript and Gothic art in general while also being a unique work in its own right.

Apocalypse of Lorraine

Originating in Lorraine during the first half of the 14th century, Li apocalypse que S. Jehans vit is one of the finest manuscripts in the collections of the Sächsische Landesbibliothek in Dresden. Written in the medieval Lothringian dialect and commissioned by a wealthy and sophisticated patron in Metz, the manuscript artfully depicts the events of the Book of Revelation, also known as the Apocalypse. The prophetic text of St. John was one of the most influential texts of medieval philosophy and theology, and continues to be one of the most fascinating biblical texts today. The text in this manuscript is so precisely written that one could believe it was printed. It is organized with the help of elegant initials consisting of primary colors with gold leaf and flowering tendrils. 72 richly colored miniatures illustrate the events. These often have diligently patterned backgrounds and are further ennobled by the liberal use of gold leaf, as well as silver, including numerous burnished gold backgrounds in the Byzantine style, which are sometimes embossed with patterns. The figures have expressive faces, natural postures, and are dressed in flowing robes with a realistic fall of folds. All of these elements comes together to make this Gothic work a fine specimen of medieval manuscript art.


Alternative Titles
Lothringische Apokalypse
Apocalypse of Lorraine
Lorrainese Apocalypse
Apocalypse Lorraine
Li apocalipse que S. Jehans vit
Size / Format
118 pages / 25.0 × 18.0 cm
First half of the 14th century
72 miniatures, many of them with golden backgrounds, decorated borders
Apocalypse of St. John
Previous Owners
Bibliotheca Bachoviana (Gotha, Germany)

Available facsimile editions:
Apocalypse of Lorraine – Mscr.Dresd.Oc.50 – Sächsische Landesbibliothek (Dresden, Germany) Facsimile Edition
Edition Leipzig – Leipzig, 1982
Limited Edition: 800 copies
Detail Picture

Apocalypse of Lorraine

The Beast from the Sea

John watches from a doorway as this terrible scene plays out before a gorgeously patterned blue-gold background: “Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.” (Rev. 13:1-2)

Lothringische Apokalypse
Single Page

Apocalypse of Lorraine

The Third Horseman

“When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, ‘Come and see.’ So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, ‘A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.’” (Rev. 6:5–6).

Riding a black hose and with scales in hand, the third horseman brings plague and famine, symbolized by the scales used to weigh grain. This could also represent the Scales of Justice, or serve as a metaphor for imperial oppression, high taxes in particular. John looks on from the left margin as the Third Horseman rides out in front of a burnished gold background.

Lothringische Apokalypse
Facsimile Editions

#1 Lothringische Apokalypse

Edition Leipzig – Leipzig, 1982

Publisher: Edition Leipzig – Leipzig, 1982
Limited Edition: 800 copies
Binding: Full tooled leather with raised spine after the original
Commentary: 1 volume (61 pages) by Rainer Behrends, Eckhard Hollmann, Tünde Wehli and Klaus Bochmann
Language: German
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: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
Edition available
Price: Log in here!
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