The works of Christ in 30 masterful miniatures: a golden testimony to 12th century French illumination

Life of Christ

Perhaps Corbie (France) — Around 1175

Life of Christ

Life of Christ

Perhaps Corbie (France) — Around 1175

  1. This marvelous picture-codex presents the Vita Christi in 30 full-page miniatures without text

  2. Elegant figures in vivid events unfold on luminous gold backgrounds amidst splendidly ornamental frames

  3. Originally intended for a psalter, they were assembled thusly because of their exceptional artistic quality

Life of Christ

Alternative Titles:
  • La vida de Jesucristo en imágenes
  • Vie de Jésus Christ
  • Das Leben Christi
Life of Christ – MS M.44 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Life of Christ – MS M.44 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
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Price Category: €€€ (3,000€ - 7,000€)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

This marvelous picture-codex from the Morgan Library in New York is utterly concentrated on the impact of the pictures: the beholder is presented scenes from the life of Christ according to the New Testament in 30 full-page miniatures. These wonderful depictions convey the quality of French illumination at the end of the 12th century in an impressive manner. Delightfully colorful biblical imagery with elegant figures in vivid events unfolds on a luminous gold background amidst splendidly ornamental frames. Probably created in Limoges or Corbie, the miniatures originally served as visual adornment for a psalter, however, because of their exceptional artistic quality, they were assembled into this spectacular gem of Gothic illumination.

Life of Christ

This marvelous picture-codex from the Morgan Library in New York is utterly concentrated on the impact of the pictures: the beholder is presented scenes from the life of Christ according to the New Testament in 30 full-page miniatures. These wonderful depictions convey the quality of French illumination at the end of the 12th century in an impressive manner. Delightfully colorful biblical imagery with elegant figures in vivid events unfolds on a luminous gold background amidst splendidly ornamental frames. Probably created in Limoges or Corbie, the miniatures originally served as visual adornment for a psalter, however, because of their exceptional artistic quality, they were assembled into this spectacular gem of Gothic illumination.

Not Just Illustrations!

This unique codex collects 30 full-page miniatures set against wonderful gold backgrounds on 32 pages measuring 34 x 20 cm. Very little is known about its origins. Nevertheless, it is immediately clear to every beholder that these are exceptional paintings. The depictions of the life of Christ probably decorated a splendid psalter. One can assume that the manuscript, in which the miniatures were originally bound, was from the abbey of either St. Martial de Limoges or Corbie. The period of origin is dated to ca. 1175 because of stylistic markers. The picture-codex of the life of Christ is a magnificent attestation of 12th century French illumination in every way!

Birth, Passion, and Ascension

The 30 miniatures of manuscript M. 44 in the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York visualize scenes from the life of Christ. The pictorial cycle begins with the Annunciation. Following this impressive, minimized scene are the birth, the events in Bethlehem, and scenes from the childhood of Christ. After the gorgeous depiction of the baptism in the river Jordan, the Passion and the final ascent into heaven are presented in several pictures. The last judgement and the coronation of the Virgin Mary make up the conclusion of the depictions of the life of Christ.

A Bright Firework of Elegance

Elegantly elongated figures present the biblical events in a very vivid and natural way. The illustrations pour out in bright, powerful colors on a luminous gold background surrounded by gorgeous ornamental borders with floral ornamentation, developing their full effect in contrast to the luminous gold. In this way, the pictures are reminiscent of medieval stained glass, which display a similar effect stylistically. Each of the scenes plays out amidst the broad, ornamentally embellished frames and are presented without a detailed background. In doing so, they accomplish this unique focus completely and totally on the acting persons. This is particularly discernable in the depiction of the Annunciation: the scene is completely minimalized and only depicts the Virgin Mary, who is inspired by the Holy Ghost in the form of a dove, and the archangel Gabriel in the middle of a frameless environment. The codex of the life of Christ offers a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in this wonderful, mysterious world of French illumination!

Codicology

Alternative Titles
La vida de Jesucristo en imágenes
Vie de Jésus Christ
Das Leben Christi
Size / Format
32 pages / 34.0 × 20.0 cm
Date
Around 1175
Style
Illustrations
30 full-page miniatures detached perhaps from a psalter
Previous Owners

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Life of Christ“

La vida de Cristo
Life of Christ – MS M.44 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Life of Christ – MS M.44 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
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La vida de Cristo

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Scriptorium – Valencia, 2005
Limited Edition
250 copies
Binding
Leather with ivory replica
Commentary
1 volume by Juan A. Vicente García Marsilla
Languages: Spanish, Valencian
More Information
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: Login here!
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