Figures wearing classical robes and impressive architecture in 46 full-page miniatures: one of only four preserved Carolingian apocalypses

Cambrai Apocalypse

Cambrai (France) — End 9th century

Cambrai Apocalypse

Cambrai Apocalypse

Cambrai (France) — End 9th century

  1. Originating from Cambrai in the late-9th century, this is one of only four surviving Carolingian Apocalypses

  2. The 46 full-page miniatures are remarkably well-preserved and boast impressive architectural elements

  3. The figures are depicted in classical garb like togas and sandals and communicate through various gestures

Die Apokalypse von Cambrai

Cambrai Apocalypse

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. She is shown holding her hands up with the sun and moon at her feet and crowned with twelve stars as the seven-headed dragon who wants to devour her child approaches. This event provokes the War in Heaven, whereby the child is saved and the Archangel Michael smites the Dragon, casting it down from heaven.

Cambrai Apocalypse

Alternative Titles:
  • Apokalypse von Cambrai
  • L’Apocalypse de Cambrai
  • Apocalisse di Cambrai
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The Cambrai Apocalypse impresses the beholder with its 46 astoundingly-well-preserved full-pages miniatures. Probably originating from Cambrai in northern France at the end of the 9th century, it is one of only four Carolingian Apocalypse manuscripts to survive. It distinctly stands out from among the rest because of its own distinct coloration and visual language. The painter managed to lend liveliness to the pictures with temple and city architecture which also makes it possible to pinpoint the location of the events. The stylistic connection of late antiquity and Frankish influences is interesting. Temple architecture with both Corinthian columns and palmettes serve as stages.

Cambrai Apocalypse

The Cambrai Apocalypse is counted among the oldest Apocalypse manuscripts in the world and is a true masterpiece. With 46 astonishingly-well-preserved full-page miniatures, it transplants the beholder into the exciting period of the Carolingian Renaissance of more than 1,100 years ago.

A Rarity in Book Art

Only four Carolingian Apocalypse manuscripts survive worldwide **. Probably originating from **Cambrai in northern France at the end of the 9th century, this specimen stands out from the rest through its coloration and imagery. It is furnished with countless narrative devices, which can only be sought for in vain in the others. Temple and urban architecture contributes a certain liveliness to the pictures and pinpoints the locations of the events. Additionally, stylized depictions of plants emphasize their closeness to reality and the effort with which they were made. The intensity of the colors is noteworthy, which still appear forceful after 1,100 years and have forfeited nothing of their luminosity.

Late Antiquity as a Source of Inspiration

The stylistic connection of late antiquity and Frankish influences, as can be recognized in the depictions, is particularly interesting. Temple architecture with both Corinthian columns and palmettes serve as stages. The figures perform before these, mostly dressed in tunics, togas, and sandals. The two-dimensional people communicate with one another through various hand gestures and can be connected with one another by the beholder. The composition always remains clear and harmonious, largely thanks to the frequently stripped composition. Additionally, each miniature is surrounded by richly patterned moldings, of which no two are alike.

Visions of the Last Days

Apocalypse manuscripts contain texts that thematize both the visions as well as prophecies of the coming end of the world. Most of these are connected with the presentation of the Last Judgement, as is described in the Gospel of Mathew. The Revelation of John originated in the first century after Christ and comprises the last book of the New Testament. The visions described therein have captivated people since then and has motivated artists above all to transmit the symbolic language in creative imagery. The surprising thing about Apocalypse manuscripts is that each is absolutely unique and implement the text in their own way. It for this reason above all that this is a beloved and fascinating collection area.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Apokalypse von Cambrai
L’Apocalypse de Cambrai
Apocalisse di Cambrai
Size / Format
96 pages / 31.0 x 23.0 cm
Date
End 9th century
Language
Illustrations
46 full-page miniatures
Content
Apocalypse of St. John
Die Apokalypse von Cambrai

Cambrai Apocalypse

The Seventh Trumpet

“And the seventh angel sounded, and there were great voices in Heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever!’ And the four and twenty elders, who sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces and worshiped God, saying, ‘We give Thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, who art, and wast, and art to come, because Thou hast taken to Thee Thy great power, and hast reigned.” (Rev 11:15-19)

This is a Carolingian imitation of Late Antique art. The 24 elders assemble before a classical open temple with Corinthian capitals, palmettes, and tiled roof with the Ark of the Covenant. Below, John addresses the seven churches of Asia Minor next to a highly stylized plant. All figures are beardless and dressed in togas.

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Cambrai Apocalypse“

Die Apokalypse von Cambrai
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
Cambrai Apocalypse – Ms. B 386 – Médiathèque d’Agglomération de Cambrai (Cambrai, France)
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Die Apokalypse von Cambrai

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Quaternio Verlag Luzern – Luzern, 2017
Limited Edition
680
Binding
Bound in dark brown leather with filigree blind-tooling Acrylic presentational case
Commentary
1 volume by Peter Klein, Franck Cinato and Fabien Lafroge
Languages: German, French, English
More Information
Specially textured paper to resemble the aged original, cut according to the original shape.
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