A guide to a godly life: 264 finely painted miniatures of the Old and New Testaments as well as ancient mythology

Speculum Humanae Salvationis

Vienna (Austria) — 1432

Speculum Humanae Salvationis

Speculum Humanae Salvationis

Vienna (Austria) — 1432

  1. The only *Mirror of Human Salvation* to survive in Spain arose in Austria ca. 1432

  2. 264 fine, gold-accented paintings illustrate the tales from the Bible and ancient mythology

  3. The figures are depicted in late medieval costume in this guide for Christians in Europe to a good, godly life

Speculum Humanae Salvationis

Alternative Titles:
  • Way to Human Salvation
  • Mirror of Human Salvation
  • Liber Laicorum
  • Speculum humanae salvationis: primera parte del ms. Vit. 25-7 de la Biblioteca Nacional de Madrid
  • Heilsspiegel
Speculum Humanae Salvationis – ms. B.N.Vit 25-7 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
Speculum Humanae Salvationis – ms. B.N.Vit 25-7 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The only Mirror of Human Salvation to survive in Spain: the impressive Speculum Humanae Salvationis of the Spanish National Library. This outstanding specimen of the beloved and influential Mirror of Human Salvation arose ca. 1432 in either Vienna or Innsbruck and is lavishly decorated with 264 miniatures. These fine, gold-accented paintings illustrate the tales of the Old and New Testaments together with the themes of ancient mythology.

Speculum Humanae Salvationis

The famous Speculum Humanae Salvationis, also known as the Mirror of Human Salvation or Liber Laicorum, is an influential work of medieval faith. The text, composed at the beginning of the 14th century, was the guide to a good, godly for Christians in Europe for over 300 years. The tales of the New and Old Testaments were united for faithful Christians. This text was widespread across Europe in countless forms. Having said this, only a single illustrated codex of the Speculum Humanae Salvationis has survived on the Iberian Peninsula.

North Alpine Miniature Painting in Spain

This unique manuscript of the Biblioteca Nacional de España in Madrid is stored under the shelf mark ms. Vit 25-7. The manuscript did not, however, originate in Spain, but rather in modern Austria, namely in Vienna or Innsbruck in the year 1432. The 68 parchment pages of the Speculum Humanae Salvationis are lavishly illustrated with more than 250 gorgeously colored miniatures. These spread out in a row on the upper margin of each page as a Frieze above the Latin text in two columns. An outstanding example of German miniature painting at the time!

The Fusion of Two Worlds

The miniatures present the biblical stories completely in the raiment of the Middle Ages. Knights and warriors in chainmail and suits of armor, typical 15th century garments, an unambiguously medieval-style crown, and numerous architectural elements with Gothic forms characterize this unusual impression. Thus, the beholder encounters saints in the shape of noble ladies and biblical events in front of medieval backdrops. Elegant, graceful figures in flowing robes people the fascinatingly arranged scenes. Numerous details highlighted in gold crown the high-quality picture cycle and lend the pages of the manuscript a glimmering charm.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Way to Human Salvation
Mirror of Human Salvation
Liber Laicorum
Speculum humanae salvationis: primera parte del ms. Vit. 25-7 de la Biblioteca Nacional de Madrid
Heilsspiegel
Size / Format
68 pages / 36.0 x 26.0 cm
Date
1432
Style
Gothic
Language
Illustrations
264 miniatures

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Speculum Humanae Salvationis“

Speculum Humanae Salvationis
Speculum Humanae Salvationis – ms. B.N.Vit 25-7 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
Speculum Humanae Salvationis – ms. B.N.Vit 25-7 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
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Speculum Humanae Salvationis

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Edilan – Madrid, 1997
Limited Edition
1000
Binding
Full leather
Commentary
1 volume (307 pages) by Teresa Pérez Higuera, Albert G. Hauf i Valls and Agustín Santiago Luque
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