Gulbenkian Apocalypse

Gulbenkian Apocalypse Facsimile Edition

London (United Kingdom) — 1265–1270

Breathtakingly beautiful, golden miniatures for the Pope: one of the most beautiful English apocalypse manuscripts of the early Gothic period

  1. This is one of the most beautiful of the masterful Apocalypse manuscripts to be produced in England

  2. It is believed to have been a commission of Pope Clement IV (1190–1268) and is worthy of the heir of St. Peter

  3. Its owners include the collectors Cesare Battaglini, Henry Yates Thompson, and finally the industrialist Calouste Gulbenkian

Gulbenkian Apocalypse

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  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Gulbenkian Apocalypse

The Gulbenkian Apocalypse originated in London between 1265 and 1270. The Gothic Apocalypse manuscript is adorned with high-quality miniatures in golden frames. It is one of the most beautiful manuscripts in the English Apocalypse tradition and is found today in the Gulbenkian Museum in Portugal, after which the codex is named.

Gulbenkian Apocalypse

In the 13th and 14th centuries in England, there arose a series of precious and artistically valuable illuminated manuscripts about the Book of Revelation, also known as the Apocalypse, the last book of the Bible. The Gulbenkian Apocalypse is one of the most beautiful editions of these manuscripts. The work is adorned with a great number of high quality miniatures against a gold background. It was once owned by Pope Clement IX (1600–69) and found itself in the possession of several other prominent art lovers. Today, the magnificent manuscript is housed in the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon, wherefrom the codex derives its name.

An Interesting Picture Cycle

The Gulbenkian Apocalypse adorns a picture cycle of 152 half-page miniatures. 78 of these illustration visually depict the history of the end of the world and the Day of Judgement. 74 additional scenes illustrate short excerpts of the rather lengthy, and beloved in 13th century English apocalypse manuscripts, Berengaudus Commentary. All of the images, in their various colors and forms, were depicted in a golden, rectangular frame. While the depictions of the biblical text emphasize the role of John as a visionary, the illustrations of the commentary stress the meaning of the sermon and of episcopal authority. The miniatures of the Gulbenkian Codex clearly eclipses the pictures from other illuminated Apocalypse manuscripts. The qualitatively valuable illuminations are in an excellent state of preservation, so that today we can still wonder at these gorgeous pictures in their full splendor.

Prominent Previous Owners

In the 17th century, the Gulbenkian Apocalypse found itself in the personal library of Pope Clement IX. The Italian art collector Cesare Battaglini, who was married to a descendant of Clement IX, is believed have purchased the manuscript in the first half of the 19th century for a hefty price. Between 1899 and 1920, the manuscript found itself in the possession of the English newspaper magnate and book collector Henry Yates Thompson. Last but not least, Calouste Gulbenkian of Portugal acquired the valuable codex for his museum in Lisbon.


Alternative Titles
Apocalipsis Gulbenkian
Apokalypse Gulbenkian
Apocalisse Gulbenkian
Apocalipse Gulbenkian
Size / Format
152 pages / 27.0 × 21.7 cm
153 magnificent half-page miniatures with gold and silver leaf
Previous Owners
Pope Clement IX (r. 1667–1669)
Cesare Battaglini de Rimini
Henry Yates Thompson (1838–1928)
Calouste Gulbenkian (1869–1955)

Available facsimile editions:
Gulbenkian Apocalypse – MS L.A. 139 – Museu Calouste Gulbenkian (Lisbon, Portugal) Facsimile Edition
M. Moleiro Editor – Barcelona, 2000
Limited Edition: 987 copies
Detail Picture

Gulbenkian Apocalypse

The First Horseman of the Apocalypse

Presented before a background combining gold leaf and a diamond patterned field of blue, the First Horseman of the Apocalypse is shown riding out attired like a late medieval nobleman. “Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, ‘Come and see.’ And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.” (Rev. 6:1-2)

Apocalipsis Gulbenkian
Single Page

Gulbenkian Apocalypse

The Last Judgement

“And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” (Rev. 20:12). Here we see the climatic event of the Book of Revelation divided into two busy and brightly colored registers.

In the lower register, an angel holding a sword stands guard as the dead face God’s justice, represented by a hand reaching down holding scales. Those not found in the Book of Life are cast into the lake of fire, represented here by the Hellmouth, but the faithful appear in the upper register with Christ. In this richly gilded scene, the multitudes of the Saved gather around Christ in Majesty.

Apocalipsis Gulbenkian
Facsimile Editions

#1 Apocalipsis Gulbenkian

M. Moleiro Editor – Barcelona, 2000
Gulbenkian Apocalypse – MS L.A. 139 – Museu Calouste Gulbenkian (Lisbon, Portugal) Facsimile Edition
Gulbenkian Apocalypse – MS L.A. 139 – Museu Calouste Gulbenkian (Lisbon, Portugal) Facsimile Edition Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: M. Moleiro Editor – Barcelona, 2000
Limited Edition: 987 copies
Binding: Parchment with a red leather slipcase
Commentary: 1 volume (224 pages) by Nigel J. Morgan, Emílio Rui Vilar, Aires Nascimento, Michelle P. Brown, and Suzanne Lewis
Languages: Spanish, English
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€)
Edition available
Price: Log in here!
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