Life of John and the Apocalypse

Life of John and the Apocalypse

Netherlands — Ca. 1400

Dominated by striking, splendid images: Over 90 full- and half-page miniatures of John and his apocalyptic vision

  1. The illuminators and miniaturists of this Gothic Apocalypse manuscript were able to indulge their utmost creativity

  2. Originating ca. 1400 in the Netherlands or Northern France, it has the distinctive iconography of an English Apocalypse

  3. The finely executed miniatures are distinguished by their superior coloring, freshness, and dynamism

Life of John and the Apocalypse

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  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Life of John and the Apocalypse

Apocalypse manuscripts were produced throughout the Middle Ages and are among the most popular and fascinating illuminated manuscripts, largely due to the fantastic and enigmatic imagery found in the Book of Revelation. This splendid Gothic manuscript is fascinating because although it follows the iconographic tradition of early–13th century English Apocalypses, it actually originates from across the English Channel ca. 1400. Another unusual feature is that rather than supplementing the text, the miniatures dominate the manuscript, which has lost none of its narrative quality thanks to the expressiveness and all-round excellence of the illumination.

Life of John and the Apocalypse

Illuminated manuscripts of the Apocalypse, also known as the Book of Revelation, are among the most fascinating and artistically interesting works of medieval book art. They allowed medieval illuminators and miniaturists to indulge their utmost creativity in depicting the incredible events occurring in the vision of St. John. Although originating from either the Netherlands or northern France ca. 1400, the manuscript stored under the shelf mark Add. Ms. 38121 in the British Library is grouped iconographically with the distinctive image cycles of English Apocalypse manuscripts from the early–13th century, such as Ms. M. 524 from the Morgan Library or Ms. D.IV.17 of the Bodleian Library. It is adorned with 4 full-page miniatures and 90 half-page miniatures that are distinguished by their superior coloring, freshness, and dynamism. Their narrative quality is similarly superb, they are not only succinct but also entertaining and didactic. The composition is dominated by imagery with text taking a back seat, either appearing at the bottom of the page or in banderoles inserted directly into the text. The work was bequeathed to the British Library by Alfred Henry Huth (1850–1910), an English collector and book lover from a wealthy banker who helped found the Bibliographical Society of London. In his will, he bequeathed 50 notable works from his collection, including the fantastic Apocalypse manuscript at hand, which also relates the life of text’s author, John.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Picture-Book of the Life of St John and the Apocalypse
Apocalipsis y Vida de san Juan en miniaturas
Apokalypse und Leben des Heiligen Johannes
Date
Ca. 1400
Style
Language
Illustrations
4 full-page miniatures, 90 half-page miniatures

Available facsimile editions:
Life of John and the Apocalypse  – Add. Ms. 38121 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
M. Moleiro Editor – Barcelona, 2016
Limited Edition: 987 copies
Detail Picture

Life of John and the Apocalypse

John is Visited by an Angel on Patmos

After being banished to the island of Patmos, John received his famous Revelation from an angel sent by God on the Lord’s Day , who appears in the upper-left corner of the island dressed in white and handing a banderole to him. John is depicted with shoulder-length hair and a long beard seated on a hillside, dressed in red and blue, and barefoot. Both are blonde with golden halos. The brightly colored background with gold stars indicates this is occurring at the break of dawn.

Apocalipsis y Vida de san Juan en miniaturas
Single Page

Life of John and the Apocalypse

The Last Judgement

Upper register: after his final rebellion is crushed, Satan, in the form of a crowned dragon, is depicted in the Hellmouth, depicted here with two faces: “The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Rev. 20:10)

Lower register: as John watches on the left, Jesus appears making the sign of the benediction and holding a book, more of which appear to the left of the Hellmouth: “And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.” (Rev. 20:12)

Apocalipsis y Vida de san Juan en miniaturas
Facsimile Editions

#1 Apocalipsis y Vida de san Juan en miniaturas

M. Moleiro Editor – Barcelona, 2016
Life of John and the Apocalypse  – Add. Ms. 38121 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Life of John and the Apocalypse – Add. Ms. 38121 – British Library (London, United Kingdom) Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: M. Moleiro Editor – Barcelona, 2016
Limited Edition: 987 copies
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: Login here!
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