Ramon Llull's Electorium Parvum seu Breviculum

Ramon Llull's Electorium Parvum seu Breviculum Facsimile Edition

Arras (France) — First quarter of the 14th century (before 1322)

With the support of the Queen of France and amazingly realistic miniature depictions: a true-to-life portrait and the writings of the 13th century Spanish polymath Ramon Llull

  1. Ramon Llull (d. 1315/16) was a mathematician, philosopher, logician, writer, and mystic

  2. This manuscript was commissioned in order to bring Llull’s teachings to the French court

  3. Its 12 miniatures are exemplary specimens of early Gothic art from Northern France

Ramon Llull's Electorium Parvum seu Breviculum

  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (3)
Description
Ramon Llull's Electorium Parvum seu Breviculum

Ramon Llull (ca. 1232 – ca. 1315/16) was a Spanish polymath from the Kingdom of Majorca who is regarded as one of the most important minds of his time whose genius continues to be appreciated today because some of his works have been rediscovered in recent years. This manuscript is one of the most beautiful and concise sources concerning his life and works. Commissioned by the Queen of France, it was created by one of Llull’s students, Thomas Le Myésier (d. 1336) and is believed to contain a remarkably accurate representation of the way Llull actually looked, which is almost unheard of in medieval art. The 12 miniatures in the manuscript are regard as some of the finest specimens of the early-Gothic style in France.

Ramon Llull's Electorium Parvum seu Breviculum

Aside from being the author of the first major work of Catalan literature, Ramon Llull (ca. 1232 – ca. 1315/16) was a mathematician, philosopher, logician, writer, and mystic from the Kingdom of Majorca. He was committed to the conversion of the Moors but used philosophy and theology to try and convince them to convert by choice rather than by force or intimidation. This splendid manuscript concerning his life and works contains twelve miniatures that are considered to be some of the finest specimens of French illumination in the early-14th century. Aside frombeing one of the most important sources on the famous Catalan philosopher, it is also one of the earliest secular biographies and its miniatures have captions like modern cartoons

Splendid Imagery

Most of the miniatures depict scenes from Llull’s life beginning with his religious epiphany in 1263 and ending in 1307 during his second trip to Tunis, where he debated with Muslim scholars. His lithe Gothic figure is dressed in a simple brown habit and he sports a full grey beard as the reader follows his travels and works. The rest of the miniatures are allegorical in nature and demonstrate principles from Llull’s philosophical teachings, including a beautiful miniature of he and Myésier presenting his works to a French Queen framed by a splendid Gothic architecture. Furthermore, because of Myésier’s close relationship with Llull and his supervision of the manuscript’s production, the miniatures are thought to be unusually accurate in their depiction of Llull’s physical appearance, which is exceptionally rare in medieval art.

The Journeys of a Royal Commission

The manuscript was created by Thomas Le Myésier (d. 1336), who was taught and mentored by Lull, and appears to have been made in northern France within a few years of his master’s death in 1316, probably ca. 1321. It was commissioned by the French Queen, probably Joan II of Burgundy (1292-1330), in order to bring Llull’s teachings to the French court of King Philip V (ca. 1293-1322). Since then, the manuscript has experienced a turbulent ownership history over the next five centuries during which time it passed through various hands. It first left Paris for Poitiers in the 16th century where it came into the possession of a canon of the Cathedral of St. Pierre. It is not documented what happened to the manuscript between 1582 and 1736, when it was sold by Freiburg jurist Joseph Anton Weigel to Ulrich Bürgi, the abbot of the Benedictine monastery of St. Peter in the Black Forest. Following the secularization of the monastery in 1806/07, it was absorbed along with the rest of the monastic library into the Court Library of the Grand Duke of Baden in Karlsruhe, which evolved into the modern Baden State Library.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Codex St. Peter perg. 92
Breviculum ex artibus Raimundi Lulli
Ramon Llull Breviculum
Breviculum of Thomas Le Myésier
Size / Format
90 pages / 34.5 × 28.0 cm
Origin
France
Date
First quarter of the 14th century (before 1322)
Style
Language
Script
Gothic Textura Semiquadrata
Illustrations
12 full-page and unusually realistic miniatures with scenes from Ramon Llull's life
Content
Breviculum ex artibus Raimundi Lulli electum by Thomas Le Myésier
Patron
Joan II of Burgundy, Queen of France
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Joan II of Burgundy, Queen of France
Cathedral of St. Pierre, Poitiers
Anton Weigel
Abbot Ulrich Bürgi
Court Library of the Grand Duke of Baden

Available facsimile editions:
Ramon Llull's Electorium Parvum seu Breviculum – Codex St. Peter perg. 92 – Badische Landesbibliothek (Karlsruhe, Germany) Facsimile Edition
Millennium Liber – Madrid, 2021
Limited Edition: 995 copies

Ramon Llull's Electorium Parvum seu Breviculum – Codex St. Peter perg. 92 – Badische Landesbibliothek (Karlsruhe, Germany) Facsimile Edition
Editorial Casariego – Madrid, 1988
Limited Edition: 300 copies
Detail Picture

Ramon Llull's Electorium Parvum seu Breviculum

Travelling to Tunis

Ramon Llull travelled to Tunis four times in the years 1291, 1304, 1308, and 1314. While there, he attempted to convert the Muslim population not by force, but through preaching to them, debating philosophy with them, and praying for them. Although it does not specify the trip, this miniature shows Llull traveling to Tunis on a ship manned by two sailors, one operating the rudder and the other on the bow with a long paddle. The cross and crescent moon flags flying from the towers indicate he is going from a Christian land to a Muslim one, although their architecture is basically the same.

Ramon Llull Breviculum
Single Page

Ramon Llull's Electorium Parvum seu Breviculum

Presenting Three Codices to the Queen

This presentation miniature is set within a brightly colored and gilded frame with Gothic architectural elements and the coats of arms of the Kingdoms of France and Navarre. Ramon Llull, depicted resting on a crutch, and his kneeling disciple Thomas le Myesier present three codices containing anthologies of Llull’s works to Joan II of Burgundy, the Queen consort of France and Navarre and wife to King Philip V.

Wearing a golden crown and wearing a long, flowing dress patterned with fleurs-de-lys, Joan also holds a long staff with a white dove on the end. She is accompanied by her ladies in waiting, who are modestly dressed in wimples, a form of head covering usually consisting of white linen or silk that is draped around the neck and chin. Rather than standing straight up, Joan’s body is oddly curved as though she were standing with her weight shifted to her right hip.

Ramon Llull Breviculum
Facsimile Editions

#1 Ramon Llull Breviculum

Millennium Liber – Madrid, 2021

Publisher: Millennium Liber – Madrid, 2021
Limited Edition: 995 copies
Binding: Leather binding with bling tooling
Commentary: 1 volume by Fernando Domínguez Reboiras and Amador Vega Esquerra
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.
Price Category: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
Edition available
Price: Log in here!

#2 Raimundus Lullus – Thomas le Myésier, Electorium Parvum seu Breviculum (Leather Edition)

Reichert Verlag – Wiesbaden, 1989

Publisher: Reichert Verlag – Wiesbaden, 1989
Binding: Leather binding
Commentary: 1 volume by Walburga Büchel, Theo Pindl-Büchel, Gerhard Stamm, Felix Heinzer and Rolf Hasler
Language: German
1 volume: This facsimile is not complete. Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The pages are represented on a larger white background. The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: € (under 1,000€)
Edition available
Price: Log in here!

#3 Electorium parvum seu breviculum

Editorial Casariego – Madrid, 1988
Ramon Llull's Electorium Parvum seu Breviculum – Codex St. Peter perg. 92 – Badische Landesbibliothek (Karlsruhe, Germany) Facsimile Edition
Ramon Llull's Electorium Parvum seu Breviculum – Codex St. Peter perg. 92 – Badische Landesbibliothek (Karlsruhe, Germany) Facsimile Edition Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: Editorial Casariego – Madrid, 1988
Limited Edition: 300 copies
Binding: Gray velvet binding in linen slipcase
Commentary: 1 volume (105 pp.) Lola Badía, Gerhard Stamm, Charles Lohr, Felix Heiner, Rolf Hasler, Walburga Büchel and Theo Pindl-Büchelby
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.
You might also be interested in:
Legende de Saint Voult de Lucques Facsimile Edition
Legende de Saint Voult de Lucques
Paris (France) – 1410

The angelic face of Jesus as a miraculous pilgrimage destination: a colorful French Gothic masterpiece about the stories and miracles of the life-size statue of Christ in Lucca

Experience More
Anglo‐Norman Martyrology: Picture Book of Madame Marie Facsimile Edition
Anglo‐Norman Martyrology: Picture Book of Madame Marie
Northern France – 1285–1290

Created in Westminster, later the property of the Dukes of Burgundy: the unsparing depictions of the agonies of famous saints and martyrs in 87 full-page miniatures

Experience More
Life and Miracles of St. Louis Facsimile Edition
Life and Miracles of St. Louis
France – Around 1480

France's only saint to sit on the throne and the ideal of a Christian ruler: 48 large and masterful miniatures from the life of King Louis the Saint, King of France

Experience More
Life and Work of Saint Anthony the Abbot Facsimile Edition
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

Experience More
Blog articles worth reading
Filter selection
Publisher