Beatus of Liébana - Facundus Codex

Beatus of Liébana - Facundus Codex

León (Spain) — Ca. 1047

The only Beatus manuscript that was not created in a monastery but at the royal court: a work by the scribe Facundus for King Ferdinand I and his wife

  1. Made ca. 1047 by the scribe Facundus for King Ferdinand I (ca. 1015–1065) the Great and his wife Queen Sancha

  2. One of the most beautiful illuminated Beatus manuscripts has 114 enthralling miniatures

  3. The only Beatus manuscript that was not made in a monastery, but rather at a royal court

Beatus of Liébana - Facundus Codex

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  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (2)
Description
Beatus of Liébana - Facundus Codex

The codex of King Ferdinand I and his wife Sancha is one of the most beautiful and magnificent works of the Beatus Apocalypses. It was made ca. 1047 by the scribe Facundus and is found today in the Spanish National Library. The thrilling miniatures of the codex are counted among the most beautiful illustrations of Spanish book art.

Beatus of Liébana - Facundus Codex

The Revelation of John, which is also known as the Apocalypse, is the last book of the New Testament. The story of the end of the world, of the Day of Judgement, of the descent into hell of all the sinners, has evoked great fascination from Christians of all lands for centuries. A Spanish monk by the name of Beatus composed a commentary about this book in the Bible, which has been repeatedly reproduced over several centuries. The codex of the Spanish King Ferdinand I and his wife Sancha is one of the most beautiful illuminated manuscripts of the Beatus series. The work, comprising nearly 630 pages, is adorned with 114 enthralling miniatures in excitingly luminous colors.

Who was Beatus?

Beatus of Liébana was a monk and theologian, who belonged to the Monastery of Santo Toribio de Liébana in Spain. The monk is famous above all for his magnum opus, a commentary on the biblical Apocalypse in twelve books. These twelve books originate from ca. 776 and are known today as the Beatus-Series. The twelve books were adapted into countless manuscripts, many of which survive to this day. The majority of Beatus manuscripts originate from between the 10th and 12th centuries in northern Spain. The royal codex was manufactured for Ferdinand I and his wife Sancha ca. 1047.

A Royal Masterpiece

Ferdinand I, the Great, was King of León, Castile, and Galicia from 1035 to 1065. He contributed decisively to the ascension of the Kingdom of León-Castile to the predominant power among the Christian kingdoms of Spain. King Ferdinand and Queen Sancha gave the scribe Facundus the commission to create a worthy manuscript of the Beatus Apocalypse. This book is the only one in the series that was not made in a monastery, but rather at a royal court. The valuable manuscript named by the famous author Umberto Eco as an important source of inspiration for his worldwide best-seller “The Name of the Rose”. Today it is found in the Spanish National Library.

The Most Famous Beatus Codex

The Beatus by Fecundus is often called the most magnificent of all the Beatus-codices. The travelling, dreamlike pictorial composition of the work remains forever unforgettable for each beholder. Each of the elegant miniatures shows an astounding variety of luminous, lively colors. No other Beatus-codex can come up with similarly atmospheric images. All in all, this splendid manuscript is one of the most valuable works of Spanish book art.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Beato de Liébana, códice de Fernando I y doña Sancha
Beatus von Ferdinand I. und Doña Sancha
Beato di Ferdinando I e Donna Sancha
Beato de Fernando I e Dona Sancha
Béatus de Ferdinand I
Beato de Facundo
Facundus Beatus
Size / Format
624 pages / 36.0 × 26.8 cm
Origin
Spain
Date
Ca. 1047
Style
Language
Illustrations
114 miniatures
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Philip V (1683–1746), King of Spain

Available facsimile editions:
Beatus of Liébana - Facundus Codex – Ms. Vit. 14-2 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
Club Bibliófilo Versol – Madrid, 2006
Limited Edition: 940 copies

Beato de Liébana, códice de Fernando I y doña Sancha
M. Moleiro Editor – Barcelona, 1994
Limited Edition: 777 copies
Detail Picture

Beatus of Liébana - Facundus Codex

Christ, Alpha and Omega

Standing within an Alpha initial consisting of splendid Insular interlace with animal heads incorporated into the feet, Christ is standing holding an Omega initial in one hand and making the sign of benediction in the other. This is a fine example of the increasing influence of Romanesque art in Beatus manuscripts, combining this new international style with distinctly Hiberno-Mozarabic elements, such as the unique color palette – nowhere else does one see Christ dressed in red and black.

Beato de Liébana, códice de Fernando I y doña Sancha
Single Page

Beatus of Liébana - Facundus Codex

Vision of the Lamb on Mt. Sion

The miniatures of this manuscript are distinguished by their dark, rich color palette. The Lamb of God stands atop a purple Mt. Sion (Zion) and is accompanied by the 144,000 of the faithful who bear the name of the lamb and God upon their foreheads. They sing a song before the throne that only the faithful can know.

Although the text says that they are playing harps, the 11th century artists depict them playing something like a lute, or some other Spanish stringed instrument. The four living creatures, who appear like angels with animal heads, and numerous elders are separated from the faithful by a band of stars. They proclaim the Gospel, which they hold in their hands and is depicted in gold leaf.

Beato de Liébana, códice de Fernando I y doña Sancha
Facsimile Editions

#1 Beato de Liébana, códice de Fernando I y doña Sancha

Club Bibliófilo Versol – Madrid, 2006
Beatus of Liébana - Facundus Codex – Ms. Vit. 14-2 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
Beatus of Liébana - Facundus Codex – Ms. Vit. 14-2 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain) Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: Club Bibliófilo Versol – Madrid, 2006
Limited Edition: 940 copies
Binding: Brown leather with two clasps
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!

#2 Beato de Liébana, códice de Fernando I y doña Sancha

M. Moleiro Editor – Barcelona, 1994
Beato de Liébana, códice de Fernando I y doña Sancha
Beato de Liébana, códice de Fernando I y doña Sancha Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: M. Moleiro Editor – Barcelona, 1994
Limited Edition: 777 copies
Binding: Tanned leather with two clasps
Commentary: 1 volume (312 pages) by John Williams, Joaquín González Echegaray, Manuel Sánchez Mariana, Joaquín Yarza Luaces, and Joaquín Yarza Luaces
Languages: Spanish, English
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.
Regular price without login (like new)8,490 
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