Created by the favorite painter of King Philip II: one of the most important Byzantine works combined with the great art of Spanish illumination

Byzantine Epigrams and Icons of John of Euchaita

Spain — 16th century

Byzantine Epigrams and Icons of John of Euchaita

Byzantine Epigrams and Icons of John of Euchaita

Spain — 16th century

  1. 99 epigrams by one of the most important Byzantine scholars and poets: John of Euchaita

  2. This important 11th century work was copied and illuminated in a spectacular 16th century manuscript

  3. Nicolas de la Torre the favorite miniaturist of King Philip II (1527-98) combined Byzantine and contemporary styles

Byzantine Epigrams and Icons of John of Euchaita

Alternative Titles:
  • Epigramas e Iconos Bizantinos de Juan de Eucaita
  • Exposición en verso de las fiestas de la Iglesia Griega
  • Byzantinische Epigramme und Ikonen von Johannes Mauropous, Bischof von Euchaita
Byzantine Epigrams and Icons of John of Euchaita – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Byzantine Epigrams and Icons of John of Euchaita – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Byzantine Epigrams and Icons of John of Euchaita – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

This valuable manuscript, which is housed today in the famous El Escorial library, collects 99 epigrams by one of the most important Byzantine scholars and poets: John Mauropus or John of Euchaita. This influential spiritual scholar in Constantinople composed the verse and short poems concerning church festivities, dirges, and various political or literary themes. The wonderfully furnished manuscript from the personal belongings of Philip II originates from the 16th century and was created by Nicolas de la Torre, the most favored miniaturist of the Spanish King. The gorgeous Greek text was illustrated with numerous splendid and high-quality miniatures and opulent ornaments. In this way the great art of 16th century Spanish illumination is combined with the most significant Byzantine text of the 11th century into a unique artistic synthesis.

Byzantine Epigrams and Icons of John of Euchaita

This valuable manuscript, which is housed today in the famous El Escorial library, collects 99 epigrams by one of the most important Byzantine scholars and poets: John Mauropus or John of Euchaita. This influential spiritual scholar in Constantinople composed the verse and short poems concerning church festivities, dirges, and various political or literary themes. The wonderfully furnished manuscript from the personal belongings of Philip II originates from the 16th century and was created by Nicolas de la Torre, the most favored miniaturist of the Spanish King. The gorgeous Greek text was illustrated with numerous splendid and high-quality miniatures and opulent ornaments. In this way the great art of 16th century Spanish illumination is combined with the most significant Byzantine text of the 11th century into a unique artistic synthesis.

A Jewel from an Important Library

Philip II (1527-1598), King of Spain and builder of El Escorial, was a prominent friend and patron of the arts. In his royal monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, he assembled an outstanding library along with treasures from all areas of art. This collection of book treasures is famous up to this day. It comprises inter alia an important stock of Greek and Byzantine literature. A particularly valuable specimen from these holdings is the manuscript of the Byzantine Epigrams and Icons of John of Euchaita in a splendid manuscript from the 16th century, which came into the possession of Philip II in the year 1567.

A Master of the Byzantine Art of Poetry

John Mauropus or John of Euchaita was an important 11th century Byzantine scholar and cleric. He worked in Constantinople as a teacher at the University of Constantinople, where famous and influential people were his students. Additionally, John of Euchaita was a minister under Emperor Constantine IX (1042-1055) and was counted among a circle of intellectuals that the Emperor assembled around himself. He has achieved fame up to this day though his papers, epigrams, and letters. Following unknown circumstances, he was nevertheless banned from the imperial court and from Constantinople to Euchaita, a small city in the north of Asia Minor in modern Turkey, where he was active as the Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church.

Epigrams and Icons

The manuscript with epigrams and icons collects evidence of his influential writings from the 11th century. The literary texts of John of Euchaita stand in the tradition of the famous Marian hymn, Hymno Akathistos. The 99 epigrams of the manuscript in El Escorial concern themselves with various themes such as the progress of the 12 largest festivals of the Orthodox calendar, or dirges. Nonetheless, not only religious but also political, literary, or other subjects were described. The Greek text makes it possible to directly immerse oneself in the great art of the Byzantine poet.

Greek Text and Illustration in Opulent Splendor

The artist of the manuscript, the copy of the 11th century original, was Nicolas de la Torre, the favorite miniaturist of King Philip II. He furnished John of Euchaita’s text with gorgeous initials, which always reach beyond the margins and into the script. They are embellished with artful golden ornaments, these pass over the entire length of the pages as decorative bordures and offers the full splendor of the Renaissance to the eye of the beholder. Square-framed miniatures are always to be found in suitable places in the text. These gorgeous, exceedingly high-quality paintings stand out through their opulent colorfulness and their fine, gilded ornaments. The outstanding miniaturist clearly oriented himself stylistically on Byzantine painting, but allows clear influences from his time period, the Renaissance, to be recognized. The marvelous scenes, which vividly illustrate the 11th century Greek text, arose in this way and make the manuscript a true treasure of illumination and literature.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Epigramas e Iconos Bizantinos de Juan de Eucaita
Exposición en verso de las fiestas de la Iglesia Griega
Byzantinische Epigramme und Ikonen von Johannes Mauropous, Bischof von Euchaita
Size / Format
136 pages / 32.0 x 23.5 cm
Origin
Spain
Date
16th century
Language
Artist / School

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Byzantine Epigrams and Icons of John of Euchaita“

Epigramas e Iconos Bizantinos de Juan de Eucaita
Byzantine Epigrams and Icons of John of Euchaita – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Byzantine Epigrams and Icons of John of Euchaita – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Byzantine Epigrams and Icons of John of Euchaita – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
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Epigramas e Iconos Bizantinos de Juan de Eucaita

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Scriptorium – Valencia, 2002
Limited Edition
350
Binding
Velvet
Commentary
1 volume
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