Jean Colombe and the French Renaissance: one of the most beautiful and largest apocalypse manuscripts of the Middle Ages

Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy

Savoy (France) — Between 1428 and 1490

Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy

Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy

Savoy (France) — Between 1428 and 1490

  1. A product of 40 years of labor during the 15th century by Jean Bapteur, Peronet Lamy, and Jean Colombe

  2. Widely agreed to be one of the most beautiful hand-written and illuminated books of the Middle Ages

  3. A treasure trove of the rich and powerful dukes of Savoy for generations

Apocalipsis Figurado de los Duques de Saboya

Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy

The Pale Horseman

“And I looked, and behold, a pale horse, and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him...” (Rev. 6:8). The Fourth Horseman comes forth as the Lamb of God breaks the Fourth Seal in the upper-right corner. He is not only followed by the Hellmouth, but pulls it with wheels made of the contorted bodies of demons on a herring-bone patterned brick road. An eagle strikes out at St. John in the margin as the strife of the Apocalypse even puts him in conflict with his own symbol.

Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy

Alternative Titles:
  • Figurated Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy
  • Apocalipsis figurado de los Duques de Saboya
  • Apokalypse der Herzöge von Savoyen
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy can be safely called one of the most beautiful hand-written and illuminated books of the Middle Ages. The precious masterpiece was continuously worked on between 1428 and 1468, the greatest French illuminators participated in its manufacture. A sophisticated system of illustration accounts for the special charm of the fantastic picture book.

Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy

The Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy is a precious manuscript that was written and illuminated by the famous French book master Jean Bapteur. The precious, gorgeously designed codex contains 97 miniatures altogether, which are ordered according to a well-thought system. Nearly every page of the document is magnificently illuminated. The codex originated at the behest of the Dukes of Savoy, in particular Duke Amadeus VII has been associated with this valuable Apocalypse manuscript.

A Turbulent History

Amadeus VIII, the first Duke of Savoy, commissioned the manuscript in the year 1428. He entrusted his court painter Jean Bapteur with its design. Beginning in 1433, Bapteur was supported by the no-less-talented illuminator Peronet Lamy. This prolonged design period makes it clear what outstanding quality the precious book treasure possesses. 47 pages of the document are considered to be the work of Bapteur. The remaining pictures he designed in collaboration with Peronet Lamy, a few of them originate wholly from Lamy’s pen. In the year 1434, Duke Amadeus withdrew to his palace of Ripailla near Thonon-les-Bains. He took the yet-incomplete Apocalypse with him, in order to read it aloud to himself. In 1468 his great-grandson Charles I had the work completed by his court painter Jean Colombe. This was at the very same time that he was occupied with the legendary and world famous book treasure known as the Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry. Colombe appended the Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy with 23 missing pictures and took special care to adhere to the design system of its originator, Bapteur.

Traditional Work

The work is an abridged version of the Book of Revelation, written in black ink and accompanied by a traditional commentary by the monk Berengaudus. Red characters highlight important text elements. The special approach to the biblical text with a clarifying commentary was widespread in the spiritual literature of medieval France. The text and also the illustration of the masterpiece are strongly oriented on similar works from England. The primary source of inspiration was probably the Apocalypse of Lambeth Palace.

A Highpoint of Medieval Book Art

The manuscript contains 104 pages altogether. The pages are all designed according to a sophisticated system. The upper part of a page always contains a miniature, which illustrate the text under the image. It contains 97 miniatures, only the last pages of the work were not illustrated. The vignettes of the miniatures typically exhibit a depiction of John the Evangelist. This depiction corresponds generally with the primary scene of the respective illustration. Enchanting and diverse motifs adorn the page margins, one sees animal patterns, plant tendrils, and other playful patterns.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Figurated Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy
Apocalipsis figurado de los Duques de Saboya
Apokalypse der Herzöge von Savoyen
Size / Format
104 pages / 41.5 x 26.5 cm
Date
Between 1428 and 1490
Style
Gothic
Language
Illustrations
97 miniatures in French Gothic art
Artist / School
Apocalipsis Figurado de los Duques de Saboya

Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy

Martyrdom of St. John

Although most modern scholars agree that the author of the Book of Revelation was a certain John of Patmos, during the Middle Ages it was still believed that it was the work of John the Evangelist, who wrote the Fourth Gospel. Medieval iconography concerning him is rooted in the apocryphal Acts of St. John, in which the Evangelist is martyred when he is plunged into a vat of boiling oil.

The story of John and his martyrdom is typically presented at the beginning of medieval Apocalypse manuscripts, but rarely with the degree of artistic refinement found here. The finest pigments and gold leaf have been employed with realistically rendered people clothed in the fashions of Renaissance Italy. All is presented within a frame of elegant floral tendrils.

2 available facsimile edition(s) of „Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy“

Apocalipsis Figurado de los Duques de Saboya
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy – ms. Vit. I – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
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Apocalipsis Figurado de los Duques de Saboya

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Club Bibliófilo Versol – Madrid, 2009
Limited Edition
666 copies
Binding
Red leather embossed in gold on wood. 2 metal clasps.
Commentary
1 volume
Language: Spanish
Price Category: €€€€
Edition available
Price: Login here!
Apocalipsis figurado de los Duques de Saboya
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Apocalipsis figurado de los Duques de Saboya

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Edilan – Madrid, 1980
Limited Edition
1000 copies
Binding
Morocco leather with golden ornamentation
Commentary
1 volume (131 pages) by Carmen Santiago Agut
Language: Spanish
Regular price without login (like new)2,850 €
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