Illustrated Bible of The Hague

Illustrated Bible of The Hague – Orbis Mediaevalis – KB, 76 F5
 – Koninklijke Bibliotheek den Haag (The Hague, Netherlands)

Benedictine Abbey of St. Bertin, Saint-Omer (France) β€” 1190–1200; Added text: 1290–1300

Miniatures in Byzantine style on polished gold backgrounds, but with explicit criticism of the Crusades: a 12th-century French illustrated Bible formerly in the possession of the Dutch king

  1. This splendid 12th century manuscript exhibits clear Byzantine influences like burnished gold backgrounds

  2. Imagery from the Old and New Testaments is appended by a reproachful text concerning the Second Crusade

  3. The highly-coveted manuscript was owned by King William I of the Netherlands (1772–1843) and other bibliophiles

Illustrated Bible of The Hague

Facsimile Copy Available!
Formerly 4,500  β‚¬
Special Offer until 03/31/2024 (like new) 2,499  β‚¬
  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Illustrated Bible of The Hague

This magnificent 12th century manuscript originates from the Benedictine Abbey of St. Bertin in the northwest of France but is strongly influenced by the Byzantine artistic tradition. Due to the presence of some texts that are critical of the Second Crusade and the Roman Papacy, it is believed that the manuscript was originally commissioned by Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Komnenos. It is adorned with 45 full-page miniatures and 172 illustrations altogether with scenes from the Old and New Testaments as well as a collection of saints’ vitae. They are remarkable for their extremely vivid color scheme, splendid gold figures, and flat representations in colorful decorative frames. The highly coveted manuscript passed through the hands of various bibliophiles before finally being acquired by King William I of the Netherlands.

Illustrated Bible of The Hague

The so-called Illustrated Bible of The Hague is a 12th century French manuscript that has been illustrated from end-to-end. It originated in the Benedictine Abbey of St. Bertin in the northwest of France, but exhibits clear Byzantine influences nonetheless. Presumably, even the name of the Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Komnenos is connected to the manuscript, as can be guessed from a reproachful text against Rome concerning the Second Crusade on two pages in the book. 172 images in total illustrate the Old and New Testament in marvelous, precious miniatures. A manuscript with a truly exciting story!

The Bible Illustrations

A total 45 full-page miniatures illustrate the 94 pages of the so-called Illustrated Bible of The Hague, each of which is divided into four image fields. As a result, there is a comprehensive pictorial dΓ©cor of 172 illustrations altogether with scenes from the Old and New Testaments. They present the cycle of Salvation, beginning with the tale of Adam and Eve and ending with the Last Judgement. Additionally, a few tales of the lives and martyrdoms of saints are pictorially represented.

France and Byzantium

The precious manuscript with text in Latin and French originated at the end of the 12th century, it was finally appended with an additional text a century later. The illustrated Bible originates from the Benedictine Abbey of St. Bertin in the northwest of France. Nonetheless, the treatment of the miniatures, some of them presented against gold backgrounds, clearly indicates Byzantine influences. An extremely vivid color scheme, splendid gold figures, and flat representations distinguish the paintings in colorful decorative frames.

The Byzantine Emperor and the Dutch King

An additional indication of a Byzantine connection is hidden in the manuscript: aside from the clear Byzantine influences in the miniatures, one can find an indictment against the Second Crusade and against Rome on both the first and last pages of the manuscript. This has led to the assumption that the manuscript was originally a commission of the Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Komnenos (1118–1180). Additionally, the marvelous illustrations of the Bible probably served originally as the preface of a Psalter. In the 18th century, the manuscript of the Illustrated Bible of The Hague found itself in the possession of Joseph DΓ©sirΓ© Lupus before it was acquired by King William I of the Netherlands. It finally reached the Koninklijke Bibliotheek von den Haag in 1823.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Biblia Ilustrada de La Haya
Illustrierte Bibel von Den Haag
Size / Format
94 pages / 25.5 Γ— 16.5 cm
Origin
France
Date
1190–1200; Added text: 1290–1300
Script
Protogothic Gothic Textura
Illustrations
172 colored images in 45 full-page miniatures
Content
Map of Jerusalem, picture cycle with Latin tituli, computistical table, Latin prayers, the Office of the Trinity, moralizing treatise "AutoritΓ©s", "Complainte de JΓ©rusalem" by Huon de Saint-Quentin
Previous Owners
Joseph DΓ©sirΓ© Lupus
King William I of The Netherlands (1772–1843)

Available facsimile editions:
Illustrated Bible of The Hague – Orbis Mediaevalis – KB, 76 F5
 – Koninklijke Bibliotheek den Haag (The Hague, Netherlands)
Orbis Mediaevalis – Madrid, 2011
Limited Edition: 695 copies
Detail Picture

Illustrated Bible of The Hague

Moses Parting the Red Sea

The Pharaoh, his soldiers, and all their chariots are shown being swept away by the waters of the Red Sea as Moses leads the Israelites to safety. This miracle and demonstration of God’s power galvanized the faith of the Israelites as they prepare for their 40-year-ordeal in the desert. On the left, the Israelites proceed with understandably concerned faces as Moses keeps his arm and staff raised, their divine protection symbolized by a diamond-patterned gold leaf background.

Illustrated Bible of The Hague – Orbis Mediaevalis – KB, 76 F5
 – Koninklijke Bibliotheek den Haag (The Hague, Netherlands)
Single Page

Illustrated Bible of The Hague

Map of Jerusalem

Surrounded by other important biblical sites like Bethlehem, Bethany, and Jericho, this is a schematic map of the city of Jerusalem resembling a mappa mundi. Prominent landmarks in the city are depicted including its main gates, the Temple of Solomon, and Golgotha. It is composed of bright primary colors and is generously embellished with glimmering gold leaf.

The bas-de-page miniature reminds us that this manuscript was created in the 12th century during the height of the Crusades: it shows a Crusader knight dressed in white pursuing a wounded enemy on horseback. The burnished gold background of this and other miniatures points to the influence of Byzantine art in France and the rest of the West during this period.

Illustrated Bible of The Hague – Orbis Mediaevalis – KB, 76 F5
 – Koninklijke Bibliotheek den Haag (The Hague, Netherlands)
Facsimile Editions

#1 Biblia Ilustrada de La Haya

Orbis Mediaevalis – Madrid, 2011

Publisher: Orbis Mediaevalis – Madrid, 2011
Limited Edition: 695 copies
Binding: Green velvet with two silver clasps bearing Greek crosses and a decorative piece on the front and back covers
Commentary: 1 volume by Gregorio Solera, Ed Van der Vlist, Eberhard KΓΆnig, Ana B. Sanchez Prieto, and David Lopez Menaza
Language: Spanish
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.
Facsimile Copy Available!
Formerly 4,500  β‚¬
Special Offer until 03/31/2024 (like new) 2,499  β‚¬
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