Hainricus Missal

Hainricus Missal

Monastery of Weingarten (Germany) — ca. 1217

Originating in Weingarten, one of the most beautiful works of the German Gothic

  1. One of the greatest German Romanesque manuscripts was created by a monk known only as Hainricus ca. 1217

  2. Originated in Weingarten, the center of German illumination as the beginning of the 13th century

  3. It offers an impressive selection of miniatures, calendar pages, medallions, and historiated initials

Hainricus Missal

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  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (2)
Hainricus Missal

One of the greatest works of German Romanesque illumination has also been one of the most coveted by wealthy art lovers. Boasting such owners as the First Earl of Leicester and J.P. Morgan Jr., the Hainricus Missal is a wonderful illuminated manuscript from the Weingarten scriptorium. Created in 1217 by a certain monk named Hainricus, whose identity has not yet been more exactly determined, it features a stunning range of decoration including miniatures, calendar, medallions, historiated initials, scrollwork, and more. The figures contained therein simultaneously possess an expressiveness and a certain restraint in their gesticulations and facial expressions.

Hainricus Missal

Man's wish to stay in the memory of coming generations through the production of special works of art is one of the oldest. To be able to own such significant treasures is surely one of the greatest joys one can have. The history of this manuscript begins in 1217, when it was created in Weingarten Abbey, where it would stay for almost 600 years before being acquired by the first Earl of Leicester. His grandson, however, had to sell the codex to the millionaire John Pierpont Morgan Jr. a hundred years later. The ambitious abbot Berthold, who had great appreciation for art, sponsored the scriptorium of the Benedictine Abbey of Weingarten. Besides the Berthold Sacramentary, it is this manuscript above all that has caused the lasting fame of the great Weingarten school: the Hainricus Missal. Even so, the secret of Hainricus and his role in the production of the codex remain unexplained. According to the chronicle of the Weingarten Abbey, three monks carried this name – which one of them now is the Hainricus eternalized on the silver plate on the binding?

A Highlight of German Romanesque

Five magnificent full-page miniatures, two full-page ornamented initials, twenty-four calendar medallions, thirty-five narrative initials, twenty animal and scrollwork initials, and countless colored initials all executed in the highest perfection: this is the Hainricus Missal. The full-page miniatures, with fabulous frames carried out like panel paintings, captivate through their impressive monumentality. The initials present biblical episodes in a most lively manner. This high quality of decoration equals the precision with which the writing and neumes are carried out. Protagonists have overcome the rigor of their isolation and their emotions are within reach even though facial expressions and gestures are reduced to the basics. The Hainricus Master kicked off a great new artistic movement in the Weingarten scriptorium.


Alternative Titles
Das Hainricus-Missale
Hainricus Sakramentar
Size / Format
296 pages / 24.2 × 17.2 cm
ca. 1217
5 full-page miniatures, 2 illuminated text pages, 24 calendar medallions, 35 historiated initials, and countless smaller initials
A liturgical book containing all instructions and texts necessary for the celebration of Mass throughout the year
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Abbey of St. Peter's, Salzburg
Thomas William Coke, 1st Earl of Leicester (1754–1842)
J. P. Morgan Jr. (1867-1943)

Available facsimile editions:
Hainricus Missal – Ms M.711 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Graz, 2010
Limited Edition: 130 copies (total printrun 280 copies)

Hainricus-Missale (Normal Edition)
Limited Edition: 150 copies (total printrun 280 copies)
Detail Picture

Hainricus Missal


Here we see a Crucifixion scene which is both typical for Gothic art but also exceptional for its artistry and the quality of its materials, e.g. the cross is constructed of silver vines. All the elements one expects are found here: the crowd has been reduced to just the Virgin Mary and John the Evangelist; the sun and moon are shown to symbolize the darkening of the heavens that occurred at the moment of Christ’s death. They have grieving human faces – the sun male and the moon female.

Hainricus-Missale (Luxury Edition)
Single Page

Hainricus Missal

Adoration by the Elders

Assembled around the Throne of God, the 24 elders described in Rev. 4:1–5 are represented here by four figures holding up their crowns. In the lower register, the text’s author John is pictured at a writing table, while the tonsured figure prostrating himself before John is labelled in silver as HAINRICVS, the mysterious figure after whom the manuscript is named.

This is an exemplary German Romanesque miniature with restrained gestures, calm, even serene facial expressions, and finely shaded primary colors. A certain angularity in the fall of folds already points to the nascent Zackenstil, the “jagged style” unique to the early German Gothic. A brilliantly burnished Byzantine style background rounds out this masterpiece.

Hainricus-Missale (Luxury Edition)
Facsimile Editions

#1 Hainricus-Missale (Luxury Edition)

Hainricus Missal – Ms M.711 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Hainricus Missal – Ms M.711 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA) Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Limited Edition: 130 copies (total printrun 280 copies)
Binding: Blind embossed leather binding with replica of the original jewelry cover, two silver clasps and five genuine raised bands true to the original. The facsimile is wrapped into blue cloth and presented in a box made of cherry wood.
Commentary: 1 volume (112 pages) by Hans Ulrich Rudolf
Language: German
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) All folios are cut according to the original.
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