Brought to Bavaria as plunder: the most important example of medieval Serbian book illumination with 148 impressive miniatures

Munich Serbian Psalter

Serbia — Late 14th century

Munich Serbian Psalter

Munich Serbian Psalter

Serbia — Late 14th century

  1. The most important specimen of medieval Serbian illumination originated at the end of the 14th century

  2. 148 mostly-full-page miniatures on a splendid gold background illustrate the Old and New Testaments

  3. The manuscript came to Bavaria as plunder during the turmoil of the Turkish Wars of the 17th century

Münchner Serbischer Psalter

Munich Serbian Psalter

Baptism of Jesus

As a group of angels look on with anticipation, Jesus is shown stripped to the waste as John the Baptist reaches out to dunk his head underwater: “It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. Then a voice came from heaven, ‘You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’.” (Mark 1:9-11)

Munich Serbian Psalter

Alternative Titles:
  • Münchner Serbischer Psalter
  • Serbischer Psalter
  • Psautier Serbe de Munich
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The impressive Munich Serbian Psalter, which is housed today in the Bavarian State Library, is the most important evidence of Serbian illumination in the Middle Ages. The Serbian illuminated manuscript originated from the Balkans at the end of the 14th century and has extensive pictorial adornment: altogether, 148 mostly-full-page miniatures on a splendid gold background illustrate the Old and New Testaments in addition to the Psalms. As such a significant treasure of Slavic illumination, the codex was highly coveted and can look back on an eventful provenance.

Munich Serbian Psalter

The impressive Munich Serbian Psalter, which is housed today in the Bavarian State Library, is the most important evidence of Serbian illumination in the Middle Ages. The Serbian illuminated manuscript originated from the Balkans at the end of the 14th century and has extensive pictorial adornment: altogether, 148 mostly-full-page miniatures on a splendid gold background illustrate the Old and New Testaments in addition to the Psalms. As such a significant treasure of Slavic illumination, the codex was highly coveted and can look back on an eventful provenance.

A Princely Commission

The impressive Serbian manuscript, known as the Munich Serbian Psalter, was probably the commission of the Serbian Prince Lazar Hrebeljanović or his son Stefan Lazarević. Hrebeljanović (ca. 1329-1389) is considered to be a significant Serbian feudal lord, famous above all for his struggles against the Ottomans. The Prince of Serbia fell in the Battle of Amselfeld and was sainted in the Serbian Orthodox Church for his service to his fatherland. Stefan Lazarević (1377-1427), his son and heir, is famous as a patron of art and literature, Serbian literature was founded at his court inter alia.

Slavic Art on a Splendid Gold Background

As a princely commission, the psalter presents itself in overflowing splendor. The visual adornment comprises 148 miniatures on 229 pages measuring 28 x 19.7 cm. These mostly-full-page depictions in blue and red frames on gold backgrounds illustrate the text of the manuscript in the Slavic style with distinct Byzantine influences: the Old and New Testaments, the Psalms, and doxologies in Serbian. The spectrum of themes ranges thereby from the Good Samaritan to the birth of Christ to the Genesis story of Adam and Eve. As a result, the Munich Serbian Psalter is the most comprehensive illuminated manuscript of Serbian Orthodoxy.

The Way from Serbia to Bavaria

The psalter found itself in the possession of the princely Serbian Branković family and reached the Privina Glava Monastery on Fruška Gora mountain (Srem) by the 17th century at the latest. During the turmoil of the Turkish Wars, the manuscript came as plunder to Bavaria and into the possession of Wolfgang Heinrich von Gemell zu Flischbach, who gifted the codex to Gotteszell Abbey in Lower Bavaria. It found its way from there to St. Emmeram in Regensburg in 1782 and finally came to Munich in 1810 during the course of Secularization. Stored under the shelf mark Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4, today the Munich Serbian Psalteris one of the treasures of the Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Münchner Serbischer Psalter
Serbischer Psalter
Psautier Serbe de Munich
Size / Format
229 pages / 28.0 x 19.7 cm
Origin
Serbia
Date
Late 14th century
Script
Uncial
Illustrations
148 miniatures, which often occupy whole pages, painted on a gold background and framed by red and blue lines
Content
The Psalms, the canticles, and the Akathist to the Theotokos
Previous Owners
Münchner Serbischer Psalter

Munich Serbian Psalter

Psalm 55 / David in Gath

Fleeing from the murderous jealousy of King Saul, David fled first to Nob before coming to Gath, the Philistine city of Goliath. He is detained there because of uncertainty concerning his loyalty. The caption of this miniature reads “The Gentiles seized David, handcuffed him, and locked him in the city of Gath.”

This manuscript’s Byzantine influence is immediately discernible from the burnished gold leaf background, standardized faces, and expressive gestures in this miniature. David is depicted with a halo and wearing a long robe of red and gold with his hands bound. He is seized by soldiers wearing either scale or lamellar armor, also depicted with gold leaf, and is pictured imprisoned in a tower above the walls, resting his head on his hand.

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Munich Serbian Psalter“

Münchner Serbischer Psalter
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Munich Serbian Psalter – Codex Monacensis Slavicus 4 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
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Münchner Serbischer Psalter

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Reichert Verlag – Wiesbaden, 1983
Limited Edition
-
Binding
Linen
Commentary
1 volume (306 pages) by Hans Belting, Suzy Dufrenne, Svetozaz Radojcic, Rainer Stichel and Ihor Sevenko
Language: German
More Information
Folios are not cut according to the original.
Publisher's Price (new)2,400 €
Price: Login here!
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