With influences from African, Islamic, Oriental, and Insular art: the only Beatus manuscript created in France

Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex

Saint-Sever Monastery, Saint-Sever (France) — Around 1038

Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex

Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex

Saint-Sever Monastery, Saint-Sever (France) — Around 1038

  1. A highlight of 11th century French art and one of the most grandiose works of illumination

  2. The work encompasses 112 miniatures, some double-page, and 1,400 colored initials

  3. The miniatures indicate a knowledge of African, Islamic, Oriental, and Insular art

Beato de Liébana: Códice de Saint-Sever (Pergamenata Edition)

Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex

The Sixth Seal

Kings and other great men seek shelter in caves as God’s wrath rains down on the earth: “I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place.” (Rev. 6:12-14)

Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex

Alternative Titles:
  • Beato de Liébana: Códice de Saint-Sever
  • Beato de Saint-Sever
  • Saint-Sever Beatus
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Imageof
Price Category: from €€€
Edition available
Price: Login here!
  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex is counted among the highlights of 11th century French illumination and is one of the all-time most grandiose works of illumination. The 112 miniatures, some of them even double-page, and the over 1,400 colored initials of the nearly 600-page text are amazing. The codex contains the Apocalypse commentary by the Asturian monk Beatus of Liébana as well as expositions on the Evangelists and their writing, a genealogy of Christ, and St. Jerome’s commentary of the Book on Daniel. Aside from the overwhelming visual adornment illustrating the fascinating Book of Revelation concerning the end of the world, above all it is the fact the Saint-Sever Beatus represents the only French Beatus manuscript that makes the codex so unique.

Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex

The Saint-Sever Codex of the famous Beatus Apocalypse Commentary is counted among the highpoints of 11th century French illumination and the most grandiose works of illumination of all time. The 112 miniatures, some of them even double-sided, and over 1,400 colored initials of the text amaze on nearly 600 pages. The codex contains the famous Apocalypse commentary by the Asturian monk Beatus of Liébana in addition to expositions on the Evangelists and their writing, a genealogy of Christ, and St. Jerome’s commentary on the Book of Daniel. Aside from the overwhelming pictorial adornment illustrating the fascinating Revelation of St. John about the end of the world, above all it is the fact the Saint-Sever Beatus represents the only French Beatus manuscript that makes the codex so unique.

Beatus of Liébana’s Magnum Opus

The primary work of the Asturian monk Beatus of Liébana was popular in the Middle Ages, especially in northern Spain. Beatus of Liébana was a monk and theologian in a monastery in the Kingdom of Asturias in the north of modern Spain. He lived in the 8th century and probably died sometime after 798. He is famous for his magnum opus, the commentary on the Revelation of St. John in twelve books. The text of the Apocalypse was divided into 66 sections, after each of which followed the so-called explanatio, the commentary by Beatus on the verses. The allegorical and symbolic pictures of the Apocalypse were thus meant to be more easily understood. The end of the world was expected in the year 800, causing Beatus to compose his famous Apocalypse commentary. This manuscript from the end of the 8th century was particularly popular in north Spanish illumination during the Middle Ages and survives in 27 richly illuminated manuscripts today.

A Unique French Specimen

Nearly all of these Beatus manuscripts originate from Spain. Thus, the Saint-Sever Codex represents a unique exception, it is nevertheless the only Beatus to originate in France. It was commissioned by Grégoire de Montaner (1028-1072), Abbot of Saint-Sever. The Benedictine monastery was founded as the end of the 10th century and quickly developed into a proud and influential abbey. Under Grégoire de Montaner, Saint-Sever became a center of art and culture, gathering together important sculptors and illuminators. The master of the famous scriptorium of Saint-Sever, Stephanus Gaudus, completed the abbey’s most famous work with the help of a group of copyists and miniaturists from the scriptorium ca. 1038: the Saint-Sever Codex, which is stored today in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris.

Fantastic Creatures and Heavenly Events

This splendid codex assembles 112 miniatures and over 1,400 colored initials on 592 pages. The most diverse influences are conveyed in the manuscript’s miniatures. Above all, the relationship to the Spanish Beatus manuscripts is clear, e.g. the page with the depiction of Babylon, surrounded by snakes, just like in other Beatus manuscripts. Yet, knowledge of African, Islamic, Oriental, and Insular art and culture are also recognizable. Ancient or Carolingian illumination clearly influenced the author’s picture in the Book of Daniel. The unbelievable visions of St. John were set against a rich gold background in an unbelievable wealth of colors and forms. The picture pages are furnished with rich ornamentation, e.g. the frontispiece with its vegetal and animal décor, as well as numerous additional carpet pages adorning the book. The compositions of the depictions are impressive, e.g. the miniature of the seventh sign on a double page. Presented there in predominantly luminous shades of red against a gold background are two rows of the chosen, who worship the Lamb of God with palm leaves in their hands. Naturally, there are terrifying pictures of angry angels and mythical creatures with the bodies of grasshoppers and awful grimaces. When immersing oneself into the unbelievable visual world of the Beatus commentary on the Apocalypse by John, it quickly becomes clear that the Saint-Sever Beatus is “one of the most important masterpieces of medieval illumination overall”.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Beato de Liébana: Códice de Saint-Sever
Beato de Saint-Sever
Saint-Sever Beatus
Size / Format
592 pages / 36.7 x 28.6 cm
Date
Around 1038
Language
Illustrations
112 miniatures illuminated in gold and more than 1,400 colour initials
Artist / School
Beato de Liébana: Códice de Saint-Sever (Pergamenata Edition)

Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex

Alpha Page

Aside from the typical Romanesque style, influences from African, Oriental, Insular, and Carolingian art all combine to create the incredible beauty of this Beatus manuscript, the only to originate from France. An unbelievable wealth of colors and forms are presented with gold leaf backgrounds in this 11th century masterpiece.

This monumental Alpha precedes the text of the manuscript. It exemplifies the artistic mix of styles that distinguishes the codex: the letter itself is gold leaf and is adorned of interlace typical of Insular illumination, while the fox, monkey, and shorebirds are harder to pin down stylistically, perhaps a hybrid of styles. The color scheme is typical of the Beatus tradition, mixing dark blue, green, and brown with bright yellow and orange.

4 available facsimile edition(s) of „Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex“

Beato de Liébana: Códice de Saint-Sever (Pergamenata Edition)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Beatus of Liébana - Saint-Sever Codex – Ms. Lat. 8878 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France)
Imageof

Beato de Liébana: Códice de Saint-Sever (Pergamenata Edition)

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Patrimonio Ediciones – Valencia
Limited Edition
600 copies
Binding
Leather with two clasps
Commentary
1 volume (320 pages) by Peter K. Klein and Otto Karl Werckmeister
Languages: Spanish, Italian, English, German
Price Category: from €€€
Edition available
Price: Login here!
Beato de Saint-Sever
Imageof

Beato de Saint-Sever

1 volume: This facsimile is not complete. The edtion contains all miniatures of the codex. Extention of the facsimile edition: 204 of 584 pages.
Publisher
Club Bibliófilo Versol – Madrid
Limited Edition
666 copies
Commentary
1 volumeLanguage: Spanish
El "Beato" de Saint-Sever
Imageof

El "Beato" de Saint-Sever

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Edilan
Beato de Liébana: Códice de Saint-Sever (Gold Edition)
Imageof

Beato de Liébana: Códice de Saint-Sever (Gold Edition)

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Patrimonio Ediciones – Valencia
Limited Edition
66 copies
Binding
Leather with two clasps
Commentary
1 volume (320 pages) by Peter K. Klein and Otto Karl Werckmeister
Languages: Spanish, Italian, English, German
  1. Matching Works
  2. Matching Background Articles

Matching Works

Apocalypse with Pictures by Albrecht Dürer

Apocalypse with Pictures by Albrecht Dürer

The Apocalypse incunabulum by Albrecht Dürer: one of the greatest artistic and financial successes of the artist of the century due to its impressive woodcuts

Experience More
Val-Dieu Apocalypse

Val-Dieu Apocalypse

A masterpiece of northern French illumination: the horrors and the rapture of the Apocalypse in 83 magnificent miniatures

Experience More

Matching Background Articles

Publisher