The treasure of the Morgan Library is style-defining for the entire genre: the oldest and only two-volume Beatus manuscript

Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex

San Salvador de Tábara (Spain) — ca. 940–945

Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex

Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex

San Salvador de Tábara (Spain) — ca. 940–945

  1. The oldest surviving Beatus manuscript that set artistic standards for the genre

  2. The scribe and illuminator Maius immortalized himself in the two-volume, 10th century work

  3. A colophon included by Maius identifies himself, the patron, origin, and date of completion

Apocalipsis de San Juan. Beato de Liebana. San Miguel de Escalada

Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex

Nebuchadnezzar

Some Beatus manuscripts included scenes from the Old Testament that foretold events in Revelation. King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon sacked Jerusalem in 587 BC and destroyed the First Temple – a divine punishment according to Ezekial. Nebuchadnezzar holds a spear and a scroll while Zedekiah, the deposed king of Judah, is dressed in red: “Then they killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, put out the eyes of Zedekiah, bound him with bronze fetters, and took him to Babylon.” (2 Kgs. 25:7)

Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex

Alternative Titles:
  • Beatus von Liébana - Codex San Miguel de Escalada
  • Apocalipsis de San Juan. Beato de Liebana. San Miguel de Escalada
  • Morgan Beatus
  • Ashburnham-Morgan Beatus
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology
Short Description

The first illustrated manuscript of the famous Apocalypse commentary of Beatus of Liébana set standards that influenced two centuries of artists thereafter. The so-called Beatus of San Miguel de Escalda Codex or Morgan Beatus (after its present repository, the Morgan Library in New York), originated in the middle of the 10th century as a commission for Abbot Victor of the San Miguel de Escalada Abbey. The scribe and master of the 131 miniatures, which he immortalized himself in his famous work, bore the name of Maius. He was active in the famous scriptorium of San Salvador de Tábara. In the Morgan Beatus, Maius expressed his impressive mastery, in both high artistic quality as well as innovative pictorial invention. The manuscript with innovative elements for the illustration of the Apocalypse commentary of Beatus of Liébana stands at the beginning of a long and one of the most important traditions of northern Spanish illumination.

Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex

The first illustrated manuscript of the famous Apocalypse commentary of Beatus of Liébana set standards that influenced two centuries of artists thereafter. The so-called Beatus of San Miguel de Escalda Codex or Morgan Beatus (after its present repository, the Morgan Library in New York), originated in the mid–10th century as a commission for Abbot Victor of the San Miguel de Escalada Abbey. The scribe and master of the 131 miniatures, which he immortalized himself in his famous work, bore the name of Maius. He was active in the famous scriptorium of San Salvador de Tábara. In the Morgan Beatus, Maius expressed his impressive mastery, in both high artistic quality as well as innovative pictorial invention. The manuscript with innovative elements for the illustration of the Apocalypse commentary of Beatus of Liébana stands at the beginning of a long and one of the most important traditions of northern Spanish illumination.

The Master from Tábara

In the so-called Tábara Beatus (not to be confused with the Morgan Beatus), there is a famous depiction of the famous scriptorium of Tábara in a tower. In that very tower-scriptorium in San Salvador de Tábara, worked the masterful scribe and miniaturist Maius (926–968), who is also buried in Tábara. It was he who completed a pioneering, splendidly illuminated Beatus manuscript in years ca. 940–945. The San Miguel de Escalada Codex, divided today into two volumes, contains a colophon, in which Maius states his names and that of his commissioner, the place of origin, and the year of its creation. This precious detail allows us a wonderful glimpse into the circumstances of the creation of such a valuable manuscript.

The Eventful Ownership History

Its eventful provenance also makes the significance of the Morgan Beatus clear. Abbot Victor of San Miguel de Escalada is named as the original commissioner. From there the manuscript began a long voyage before it reached is present day repository. So it was, among others, in the possession of the Archbishop of Valencia in the 16th century and came into the possession of an Italian collector in the 19th century. Thereafter the Beatus of San Miguel de Escalada was acquired by an Earl of Ashburnham, later belonged to Henry Yates Thompson, and finally found its way into the possession of J.P. Morgan in 1919, still constituting one of the treasures of his valuable library collection in New York today.

The First Beatus

As the oldest complete manuscript of the Apocalypse commentary of Beatus of Liébana, the Morgan Beatus stands at the beginning of a long tradition The famous Apocalypse commentary, which arose in 776 and consisted of 12 books, by the Asturian monk and theologian Beatus of Liébana was a chief subject of illumination in Spain from the 10th to the 12th centuries. The often terrifying and altogether fantastical pictures of the end of the world from the Book of Revelation offered the miniaturists the opportunity to give full scope to their fantasy and to add their fantasies away from reality.

Masterful, Pioneering Representations

The miniaturist Maius was the first to illustrate the complete text by Beatus of Liébana. With his miniatures, the master from Tábara set a new standard. He created pioneering pictorial subjects that were supposedly adopted and refined in the following centuries by numerous miniaturists. Impressive scenes play out before a brightly colored background, which with its arrangement of yellow, green, and red color stripes give rise to an unreal, eschatological world. The miniatures are bordered by gorgeous, ornamentally designed frames. Depictions of the heavenly Jerusalem, the adoration of the lamb, or the angels blowing the trumpets of the Apocalypse indicate the innovative reinventions of pictorial adornment alongside their “exceptional artistic quality” in particular. In the manuscript, Maius also names his motives: he wants to elucidate the terror of the coming Day of Judgement. He achieved this goal with a supreme performance. His illustrations of the Apocalypse commentary of Beatus of Liébana are still able to captivate the beholder today with luminous colors, artful forms, and fantastical content.

Codicology
Alternative Titles
Beatus von Liébana - Codex San Miguel de Escalada
Apocalipsis de San Juan. Beato de Liebana. San Miguel de Escalada
Morgan Beatus
Ashburnham-Morgan Beatus
Size / Format
2 volumes - 606 pages / 38.7 × 28.5 cm
Date
ca. 940–945
Style
Language
Illustrations
131 miniatures
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Apocalipsis de San Juan. Beato de Liebana. San Miguel de Escalada

Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex

The Victory of the Lamb over the Kings

This is one of the oldest surviving Beatus manuscripts, which was style-setting for the genre. This is especially true with regard to the color scheme of mixing deep, dark colors with bold, bright ones. This color scheme often served to differentiate between the astral planes.

“These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” (Rev. 17:14). The Lamb of God watches the events on earth as the faithful, identified by their halos, triumph over the wicked, whose decapitated naked bodies indicate that they are hell-bound. The beast and serpent, their eyes filled with dismay, appear as though they are fleeing the carnage.

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex“

Apocalipsis de San Juan. Beato de Liebana. San Miguel de Escalada Facsimile

Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
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Apocalipsis de San Juan. Beato de Liebana. San Miguel de Escalada Facsimile

2 volumes: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Scriptorium – Valencia, 2000
Limited Edition
490 copies
Binding
Leather
Commentary
1 volume by William M. Voelkle, John Williams, Barbara A. Shailor, Leslie G. Freeman, Alberto del Campo Hernández, and Joaquín González Echegaray
Languages: English, Spanish
More Information
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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