Beatus of Liébana - Turin Codex

Beatus of Liébana - Turin Codex Facsimile Edition

Gerona Cathedral (Gerona, Spain) — 12th century

A woman in the team of illuminators: a Beatus manuscript based on the 10th century Girona Codex and yet with unique miniatures

  1. A magnificent 12th century Beatus that is a copy of the 10th century Girona Codex

  2. The codex features unique illustrations that are found in no other Beatus manuscript

  3. The team of illuminators responsible for the manuscript included a woman - a true rarity!

Beatus of Liébana - Turin Codex

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

The so-called Turin Codex is a Beatus manuscript originating in Catalonia ca. 1100. The 106 miniatures in total are of outstanding quality, which present innovative pictorial inventions in some places – e.g. the famous round world map. The Turin Codex is an unmediated copy of the famous Girona Codex, which was made in the year 975 in the groundbreaking scriptorium of the Monastery of San Salvador de Tábara. As such, the Turin codex stands in the tradition of “one of the most important manuscripts of all time”!

Beatus of Liébana - Turin Codex

The so-called Turin Codex is a Beatus manuscript originating in Catalonia ca. 1100. The 106 miniatures in total are of outstanding quality, which present innovative pictorial inventions in some places – e.g. the famous round world map. The Turin Codex is an unmediated copy of the famous Girona Codex, which was made in the year 975 in the groundbreaking scriptorium of the Monastery of San Salvador de Tábara. As such, the Turin codex stands in the tradition of “one of the most important manuscripts of all time”!

The Vision of the End of the World

The Apocalypse Commentary by Beatus of Liébana (deceased after 798) was a bestseller of the High Middle Ages. The monk and theologian from the Monastery of San Martin der Turieno near Liébana wrote his influential work: a commentary to the Apocalypse of John ca. 800. The biblical tale of the end of the world was especially popular and influential throughout the Middle Ages, wherefore the Commentary of Beatus of Liébana enjoyed widespread popularity and dissemination. Beatus composed his clarifying and interpretive commentary on John’s symbolically-charged vision in twelve books. These clarifying texts were recorded in numerous, for the most part wonderfully illustrated, large-format manuscripts, of which over 30 specimens still exist today. These belong among the most significant manuscripts of the Middle Ages in northern Spain and are true treasures of illumination!

The Copy of a Masterpiece

The Turin Codex, named after its modern repository, contains a total of 106 miniatures of outstanding quality across 428 pages. The manuscript probably originates ca. 1100 in Catalonia, presumably in Ripoll in the province of Girona. The scriptorium of Ripoll was a site of outstanding artistic production at this time and developed under the famous Abbot Oliba into a center of scholarship and the arts. A direct copy of the famous Girona codex originated from there.

Groundbreaking Pictorial Inventions in Compelling Quality

This Girona Codex is stored today in the archive of the Girona Cathedral. It originated in the second half of the 10th century, probably in the year 975. The scribes, miniaturists (including one female!), and commissioner of the Girona Codex are all known, they are all mentioned in the codex. The exceedingly valuable and exceptional codex, adorned in splendid gold and silver, contains depictions that are to be found in no other Beatus, e.g. scenes from the life of Christ in the form of an image cycle. At times the artist would work with typical motifs, but nevertheless in outstanding quality, at other times they would employ completely new, unique iconography. The Girona Beatus probably originated from the Monastery of San Salvador de Tábara and is considered to be “one of the most important Spanish manuscripts of all time”, and that very masterpiece was used as a template by the artists of the Turin Codex for their own work of art!

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Beatus von Liébana - Turiner Codex
Beato de Turín
Turiner Beatus
Size / Format
428 pages / 36.0 × 27.5 cm
Origin
Spain
Date
12th century
Style
Language
Illustrations
106 miniatures (93 in the Beatus Commentary and another 13 in the Book of Daniel)
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
Beatus of Liébana - Turin Codex – Ms.J.II.I (previously Lat.93) – Biblioteca Nazionale Universitaria di Torino (Turin, Italy) Facsimile Edition
Testimonio Compañía Editorial – Madrid, 2000
Detail Picture

Beatus of Liébana - San Miguel de Escalada Codex

Christ in Majesty

Seated within an elaborate mandorla, we see Christ enthroned as ruler of the world. In fact, he holds the world, labelled Mundi, between the thumb and ring finger of his right hand while holding a book in his left. Christ’s face is stern, a reflection of the divine wrath described in the Book of Revelation, and looks directly out at the reader as if he were prompting them to examine their own souls. Great attention to detail has been paid to the fall of folds in his dark blue tunic.

Beato de Turín
Single Page

Beatus of Liébana - Turin Codex

The Woman and the Dragon

The Woman of the Apocalypse is one of the most prominent figures of John’s Revelation and is widely considered to be either the Virgin Mary or God’s people as a whole. In this grand double-page miniature, she appears at the far left clothed in the sun, the moon at her feet, and crowned with twelves stars (although the artist appears to have forgotten two) as the red, seven-headed dragon who wants to devour her child stretches across both pages.

God saves the child, who is pictured with him in the upper right, but this provokes the War in Heaven. Spear-wielding angels commanded by the Archangel Michael descend upon the dragon, representing Satan, who is defeated and cast down along with his fallen angels – depicted as being naked, having been stripped of their fair hue.

Beato de Turín
Facsimile Editions

#1 Beato de Turín

Publisher: Testimonio Compañía Editorial – Madrid, 2000
Binding: Brown leather binding tooled with an image of Majestas Domini and two metal clasps
Commentary: 1 volume by Mauricio Herrero Jimenez
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€)
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