Biblia Sacra: Codex Membranaceus Saeculi IX

Scriptorium of Archbishop Hincmar of Reims, Reims (France) — 875

Biblia Sacra: Codex Membranaceus Saeculi IX

Biblia Sacra: Codex Membranaceus Saeculi IX

Alternative Titles:
  • Bibbia di San Paolo fuori le Mura
  • Bible of St. Paul
  • Heilige Bibel: Codex Membranaceus Saeculi IX
Biblia Sacra: Codex Membranaceus Saeculi IX  – Abbazia di San Paolo fuori le Mura (Rome, Italy)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

A bibliographic gem housed in the Benedictine Abbey of St. Paul Outside the Walls, Rome, for nearly 1,000 years. The Bible of San Paolo fuori le Mura is the most sumptuously illuminated Carolingian Bible, which was created at the behest of Charles the Bald and was gifted by him to Pope John VIII on the occasion of his imperial coronation in 875. The masterful illumination is a kaleidoscope of purple dyed parchment, bright pastel colors, and gold and silver ink. It is adorned with 24 full-page miniatures, 4 canon tables, 35 decorative pages, and 91 initials. The manuscript is a superb example of the Carolingian style of illumination which originated from the reign of Charlemagne, the grandfather of Charles the Bald.

Biblia Sacra: Codex Membranaceus Saeculi IX

Between the years 870 and 875, the most sumptuously illuminated Carolingian Bible was created at the behest of Charles the Bald (823–877), grandson of the famous Charlemagne (742–814), in whose shadow all successive European monarchs have stood. Originating from his Court School in Aachen, it was presented to Pope John VIII (r. 872–882) at Charles’ imperial coronation in Rome on December 25th, 875 – Christmas night. Two centuries later, during the reign of Pope Gregory VII (r. 1073–85), the Bible was entrusted to the Benedictine Abbey of St. Paul Outside the Walls. It remains there to this day, and is such a famous treasure that it needs no shelf mark, but is also known as the Bible of St. Paul or the Bibbia di San Paolo fuori le Mura. The grand manuscript is a highlight of Carolingian illumination: purple-dyed parchment, gold and silver ink, bright pastel colors, superb initials and incipit pages in the Insular style, and miniatures inspired by the art of Late Antiquity.

A Gem of Carolingian Illumination

The 337-page Bible measures 44.8 x 35.5 cm and features 24 full-page miniatures and include a dedication portrait of Charles the Bald, a portrait of St. Jerome, 14 Old Testament Scenes, a Christ in Majesty, four Evangelist portraits, a scene from the Book of Acts, four miniatures from the Epistles of Paul, and a miniature from the Book of Revelation. A 25th miniature from the Book of Job is missing. The figures and other décor exhibit influences of the Reims school. These are adorned by 4 canon tables, 35 decorative pages, and 91 initials. The text of the ornamental pages is written in gold ink to make the most of the dark purple grounds with titles in Capitalis rustica, while Capitalis quadrata was used for the incipits. The biblical text is written in two columns by a scribe named Ingobert, who likely was the head of the scriptorium who directed a team working on the grand tome. He is identified in the prologue: Eius ad imperium devoti pectoris artus Ingobertus eram referens et scriba fidelis. The Baroque cover originated from a restoration in 1646 that was commissioned by Abbot Giovita De Rubeis, and the codex underwent another, longer, more meticulous restoration from 1970 to 1981, accounting for its superb condition today.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Bibbia di San Paolo fuori le Mura
Bible of St. Paul
Heilige Bibel: Codex Membranaceus Saeculi IX
Date
875
Language
Illustrations
24 title miniatures, 4 canon tables, 35 decorative pages, 91 initials
Content
Bible (Old Testament in its entirety)
Artist / School
Previous Owners

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Biblia Sacra: Codex Membranaceus Saeculi IX“

Biblia Sacra: Codex Membranaceus Saeculi IX
Biblia Sacra: Codex Membranaceus Saeculi IX  – Abbazia di San Paolo fuori le Mura (Rome, Italy)
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Biblia Sacra: Codex Membranaceus Saeculi IX

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato – Rome, 1993
Limited Edition
1000 copies
Commentary
1 volume by Girolamo Arnaldi, Stefano Baiocchi, Bernhard Bischoff , Henri De Sainte-Marie, Maria C. Lilli di Franco, Joachim Gahede, Jean Gribomont, Jean Mallet, Florentine Mütherich, Giuseppe Nardin, Steven Pisani
Language: Italian
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: €€€€ (7,000€ - 10,000€)
Edition available
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