Life and Work of Saint Anthony the Abbot

Life and Work of Saint Anthony the Abbot

Saint-Antoine-l'Abbaye (France) — 1431–1437

Concerning the founder of Christian monasticism: a masterpiece with 200 miniatures owned by the Pope and the Medici

  1. St. Anthony (251–356) is viewed as the founder of Christian monasticism and the most famous monk of antiquity

  2. The manuscript about his life was produced in the 1430's in a French village whose church had his relics

  3. The coveted manuscript features 200 miniatures and was owned by the Medici and Pope Eugene IV (1383–1447)

Life and Work of Saint Anthony the Abbot

Price Category: €€€ (3,000€ - 7,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Life and Work of Saint Anthony the Abbot

The Life and Work of Saint Anthony the Abbot is an illuminated manuscript that was made in France between 1431 and 1437. It is concerned with the deeds and virtues of Anthony the Great, Christianity’s first monk, and is decorated with over 200 miniatures. The valuable original codex was once part of the Medici family collection and is stored today in the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana.

Life and Work of Saint Anthony the Abbot

Jean Montchenu, Bishop of the diocese of Agen and Viviers in France, was a highly-educated man and a passionate book collector. Some of the masterpieces from his valuable collection of illuminated manuscripts can be found today in some of the most popular libraries worldwide. The manuscript of the the Life and Works of Anthony the Great is a particularly splendid specimen from the Montchenu Collection. The document concerning the acts and virtues of Anthony, the father of all monks, is adorned with 200 high quality miniatures.

Who was Anthony the Great?

Anthony the Great was an Egyptian Christian Monk, ascetic, and hermit. He is viewed as the founder of Christian monasticism and is considered to be the most famous monk of antiquity. Anthony lived as a hermit in complete solitude and without possessions of any kind. He is said to have lived within the meaning of a biblical verse in the Gospel of Matthew: “thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.” His spiritual posture attracted many admirers and like-minded people who followed his example and who gave up their earthly possessions. The followers of Anthony founded communities, from which the first antique monasteries originated.

French Legends

The manuscript about St. Anthony was produced between 1431 and 1437 in the French village of Saint-Antoine-l'Abbaye. The place name is based on a legend from the Early Middle Ages. A Byzantine Emperor is said to have presented the relics of Anthony to a local nobleman by the name of Jocelin in the year 1070. He then gave the relics to a local church. Word got out that the remains of St. Anthony exerted a healing effect on all diseases and sufferings. Thus the church and the whole community of Saint-Antoine-l'Abbaye became a beloved pilgrimage site for Christians from around the world.

Monochrome Book Adornment

The touching life story of the monastic father Anthony is illustrated with 200 exciting miniatures. The images are consistently designed. The depictions show gentle, monochrome landscapes and vivid sceneries from everyday life at court in the idle Ages. One sees knights in armor who decide sword fights on horseback or at social events, where noblemen celebrated with music, food, and drink. The masterful codex was found for a long time in the possession of Pope Eugene IV and of the famous Renaissance principality of the Medici.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Sant'Antonio Abate - la vita e le opere
Firenze Vita di S. Antonio Abbate
Antonius der Große - Leben und Werk
Size / Format
204 pages / 36.0 × 27.5 cm
Origin
France
Date
1431–1437
Style
Language
Illustrations
200 monochrome or faintly colored miniatures
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Pope Eugene IV
Medici family

Available facsimile editions:
Saint Anthony Abbot – ms. Mediceo Palatino 143 – Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana (Florence, Italy)
ArtCodex – Modena, 2011
Limited Edition: 999 copies
Detail Picture

Life and Work of Saint Anthony the Abbot

Seeking a Life of Poverty

Anthony was born in a wealthy landowning family in Lower Egypt and decided to unburden himself of his inheritance after his parents died when he was only 20. He gave away some of this family’s lands to his neighbors while selling others and donating the funds to the poor. In doing so, he was following the words of Christ: “Jesus said to him, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me’.” (Matt. 19:21)

Sant'Antonio Abate - la vita e le opere
Facsimile Editions

#1 Sant'Antonio Abate - la vita e le opere

ArtCodex – Modena, 2011
Saint Anthony Abbot – ms. Mediceo Palatino 143 – Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana (Florence, Italy)
Saint Anthony Abbot – ms. Mediceo Palatino 143 – Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana (Florence, Italy) Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: ArtCodex – Modena, 2011
Limited Edition: 999 copies
Binding: Blue silken velvet with gold and silver fittings, lapis lazuli stone on the cover center
Commentary: 1 volume (247 pages) by Claudia Cappelletti
Language: Italian
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) 23 carat fine gold on CartaPergamena
Price Category: €€€ (3,000€ - 7,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
You might also be interested in:
Menologion - Book of Saints of Emperor Vasilios II
Menologion - Book of Saints of Emperor Vasilios II
Istanbul (Turkey) – Late 10th century or early 11th century

Byzantine illumination commissioned by the Emperor: the lives of saints in 400+ golden miniatures

Experience More
Simon Bening Stein Quadriptych
Simon Bening Stein Quadriptych
Bruges (Belgium) – 1523–1526

The most unusual work of the famous Simon Bening: 64 masterful miniatures in wood-framed set

Experience More
Blog articles worth reading
Filter selection
Publisher