Sacramentary of Beauvais

Sacramentary of Beauvais โ€“ Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) โ€“ Ms. Ludwig V 1 โ€“ Getty Museum (Los Angeles, USA)

Northern part of France โ€” Around 1025

Disassembled into several pieces in the 19th century and sold at a high price: gold, silver and purple on ten exuberantly illuminated leaves of a special sacramentary for the highest feast days of the Christian calendar

  1. Ten spectacular surviving leaves of a work commissioned by Roger of Champagne (d. 1016), Count-Bishop of Beauvais

  2. Those leaves are clearly preserved because of their beauty and the generous use of gold and silver

  3. This particular sacramentary was intended for use on special occasions and high holidays

Sacramentary of Beauvais

Facsimile Copy Available!
Price Category: โ‚ฌโ‚ฌ
(1,000โ‚ฌ - 3,000โ‚ฌ)
  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (2)
Description
Sacramentary of Beauvais

The transmission of contemporary witnesses so rich in history, as medieval codices are, sometimes goes its own way. Thus, only 10 fine pages of this sacramentary of Beauvais, decorated with a particularly large amount of gold and silver, have survived today. Three of them are written in gold script on a purple background. The reason for the loss of the remaining pages was the greed for profit of a bookseller in the early 19th century, who cut up the precious manuscript in order to be able to make a higher profit by selling the individual lots. When Prince-Bishop Roger of Champagne (d. 1016), Bishop of Beauvais, commissioned the Sacramentary, it did not contain the priest's mass texts for the entire church year, but only those for special occasions; Easter, Christmas, and Ascension Day are among the pages still preserved today, which explains the particularly sumptuous decoration of the pages.

Sacramentary of Beauvais

The Sacramentary of Beauvais in the collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles (Ms. Ludwig V 1) is one of a pair of lavish liturgical manuscripts almost certainly produced in northern France by an Italian scribe, who also may have illuminated the volumes. Only ten leaves of the original book have survived into modern times, those leaves are clearly preserved because of their beauty and the generous use of gold and โ€“ more remarkably โ€“ silver. Included among the surviving leaves are three pages of text written in gold on painted purple grounds, a stunning full-page Crucifixion scene, and a nearly full-page initial in gold and silver, as well as smaller painted initials. The complete manuscript was known to the seventeenth-century canons of Beauvais cathedral as the โ€œMissal of Roger of Champagne,โ€ and indeed, the sacramentary most probably was created at the behest of Roger of Champagne (d. 1016), the first count-bishop of Beauvais, who was named in an inscription on an early binding. Roger was renowned for having endowed the cathedral with precious goods, including the sacramentary and two other sumptuous liturgical books.

The Sacramentary โ€“ A Book of Prayers for the Holy Mass

A sacramentary contains the prayers given by the celebrating priest at mass. The Sacramentary of Beauvais preserves all of the Eucharistic prayers, which are invariable throughout the liturgical year. Among the various prayers on the surviving pages are those for two Christmas masses, Easter and Ascension. The manuscript, which never had a full series of Sunday prayers, was clearly a book for special occasions, and the addition of the names of Saints Quentin and Cassien to one of the prayers suggests that one of the special occasions was the consecration in 1069 of the church of the Augustinian monastery of Saint-Quentin de Beauvais, founded by Guy, bishop of Beauvais, in 1067.

A Masterly Work

The gifted illuminator of the Beauvais Sacramentary, working in paints of precious metals as well as more traditional pigments, was skilled both in the intricacies of sophisticated interlace and in the convincing depiction of the human figure. The interlace on the Crucifixion page and the interlace of the letter "D" for Easter are each composed of three separate strands of strap work. On the Crucifixion page, a single, continuous strand defines the cross, and two others comprise the frame, all interlocking into a cohesive whole. Exuberant though the interlace may be, it does not detract from the focus on Christโ€™s role in salvation history and the artist has masterfully conveyed both the human figure, especially in the musculature of Christโ€™s torso, and the pathos of the event.

An Italian Scribe in France

The work of the scribe of the Beauvais Sacramentary can be found in a French Gospel lectionary, written according to its dedicatory inscription, by a scribe โ€œfrom Italy, which surpasses all realms of intellectual brillianceโ€ (Paris, Bibliothรจque nationale de France, MS lat. 1126). Aspects of his writing also show a familiarity with Milanese conventions. Meanwhile, both the wonderful illumination and the masterly text have been attributed to the illuminator Nivardus of Milan. He was active around 1000 and initially illuminated manuscripts for the Bishop of Milan before he was summoned to the Abbey of Saint-Benoรฎt-sur-Loire, where he most likely created this magnificent sacramentary.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Sakramentar von Beauvais
Size / Format
20 pages / 23.2 ร— 17.8 cm
Origin
France
Date
Around 1025
Style
Language
Script
Carolingian minuscule Uncial Rustic capitals
Illustrations
1 full-page miniature of the Crucifixion; 4 interlace initials in gold and silver ink, 1 of which is full-page and inhabited; 3 text or incipit pages with purple background; chrysography (gold lettering) throughout
Content
Fragments of a sacramentary
Patron
Roger, Bishop of Beauvais (d. 1016)
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Walter Sneyd
Charles Fairfax Murray
Charles Williams Dyson Perrins
Hans Peter Kraus
Peter and Irene Ludwig

Available facsimile editions:
Sacramentary of Beauvais โ€“ Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) โ€“ Ms. Ludwig V 1 โ€“ Getty Museum (Los Angeles, USA)
Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) โ€“ Graz, 2010
Limited Edition: 111 copies

Sacramentary of Beauvais โ€“ Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) โ€“ Ms. Ludwig V 1 โ€“ Getty Museum (Los Angeles, USA)
Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) โ€“ Graz, 2010
Limited Edition: 444 copies
Detail Picture

Sacramentary of Beauvais

Tree Climbers

The decorative initial on this page is framed by two columns that turn into trees with branches of gold and silver. Two young men climb through the branches wearing complimentary clothing: one in a grey tunic and purple pants and the other a purple tunic with grey tights. The artist has outlined the precious metals in order to make them more distinct, using red for the gold and black for the silver. It is a wonderful blend of Ottonian art with the emerging Romanesque style.

Sacramentary of Beauvais โ€“ Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) โ€“ Ms. Ludwig V 1 โ€“ Getty Museum (Los Angeles, USA)
Single Page

Sacramentary of Beauvais

Crucifixion โ€“ Te Igitur

This extraordinary composition of purple, silver, and gold is attributed to a certain Nivardus of Milan. The cross of this Crucifixion scene forms the opening โ€œTโ€ of the Eucharistic prayer Te igitur. Christ is shown triumphant over death with his eyes wide open: gold dots represent the nails in his feet and hands, but there is no blood and he seems to stand rather than hang.

The figures of the Virgin Mary and St. John the Evangelist flank the cross, each with a hand raised to their respective faces in a gesture of sadness, conveying the human suffering of the event. The image, especially with regard to the attitudes of the Virgin and John, is reminiscent of Crucifixion scenes found in contemporary manuscripts from Lombardy.

Sacramentary of Beauvais โ€“ Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) โ€“ Ms. Ludwig V 1 โ€“ Getty Museum (Los Angeles, USA)
Facsimile Editions

#1 Das Sakramentar von Beauvais (Real Gold Edition)

Publisher: Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) โ€“ Graz, 2010
Limited Edition: 111 copies
Binding: Hand-made cover of parchment. Facsimile and Commentary will be delivered in a luxury leather case.
Commentary: 1 volume by Elizabeth C. Teviotdale
Languages: German, English

The scientific commentary volume will be written by Dr. Elizabeth C. Teviotdale (Michigan). In it she reveals the origins and history of the manuscript and provides a detailed description of the miniatures, the pages with decorative initials and the entire artistic accoutrements. The commentary volume will be published in English and German.
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. All folios are cut according to the original. Six ornamented pages reproduced in 23 Karat gold and silver
Facsimile Copy Available!
Price Category: โ‚ฌโ‚ฌ
(1,000โ‚ฌ - 3,000โ‚ฌ)

#2 Das Sakramentar von Beauvais (Normal Edition)

Sacramentary of Beauvais โ€“ Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) โ€“ Ms. Ludwig V 1 โ€“ Getty Museum (Los Angeles, USA)
Sacramentary of Beauvais โ€“ Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) โ€“ Ms. Ludwig V 1 โ€“ Getty Museum (Los Angeles, USA) Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) โ€“ Graz, 2010
Limited Edition: 444 copies
Binding: Hand-made cover of parchment. Facsimile and Commentary will be delivered in a luxury leather case.
Commentary: 1 volume by Elizabeth C. Teviotdale
Languages: German, English

The scientific commentary volume will be written by Dr. Elizabeth C. Teviotdale (Michigan). In it she reveals the origins and history of the manuscript and provides a detailed description of the miniatures, the pages with decorative initials and the entire artistic accoutrements. The commentary volume will be published in English and German.
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) All folios are cut according to the original.
Facsimile Copy Available!
Price Category: โ‚ฌโ‚ฌ
(1,000โ‚ฌ - 3,000โ‚ฌ)
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