Speculum Humanae Salvationis of Kremsm√ľnster

Speculum Humanae Salvationis of Kremsm√ľnster ‚Äď Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) ‚Äď Codex Cremifanensis 243 ‚Äď Stift Kremsm√ľnster (Kremsm√ľnster, Austria)

Austria ‚ÄĒ 1325‚Äď1330

The oldest surviving copy of the famous Mirror of Human Salvation: a rare and memorably illuminated insight into the architecture, clothing, and everyday life of the 14th century

  1. The Mirror of Human Salvation was the most popular medieval book of religious edification

  2. The oldest manuscript of this type features text in Latin and German adorned with 192 miniatures

  3. Architecture, clothing, and other everyday object offer an inside view of the 14th century

Speculum Humanae Salvationis of Kremsm√ľnster

Facsimile Copy Available!
Price Category: ‚ā¨
(under 1,000‚ā¨)
  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Speculum Humanae Salvationis of Kremsm√ľnster

The most popular book of religious edification and one of the most widespread works of the Late Middle Ages: the Speculum Humanae Salvationis or ‚ÄúMirror of Human Salvation‚ÄĚ is the so-called codex Cremifanensis 243, housed today in the Benedictine Abbey of Kremsm√ľnster in Austria. Featuring 192 miniatures and a text in both Latin and German, it is the oldest illuminated manuscript of its type and one of the most lavishly decorated. The primary focus of the work is establishing an extensive synthesis of the Christian history of salvation. This is done by showing the close relation between the New and the Old Testaments. On the other hand, everyday objects are represented: architecture and vestments provide an interesting insight into the culture of the early 14th century, making the manuscript a true treasure trove for the cultural history of this period.

Speculum Humanae Salvationis of Kremsm√ľnster

One of the most beautiful and ancient manuscripts of the Speculum Humanae Salvationis or ‚ÄúMirror of Human Salvation‚ÄĚ is the so-called codex Cremifanensis 243, housed today in the Benedictine Abbey of Kremsm√ľnster in Austria. Its 192 miniatures, all feather drawings outlined by a sure hand and with a great feel for the use of space, are sparsely colored in red and blue and make the reader familiar with the very foundations of Christian belief. This codex is not only the oldest illustrated manuscript of the Speculum Humanae Salvationis but also its first bilingual edition, containing the original Latin text and a somewhat abridged German version. The Speculum Humanae Salvationis is a mirror of human redemption by Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary, a picture Bible containing systematically compiled accounts from both the Old and the New Testaments, thus forming an extensive synthesis of the Christian history of salvation.

The Pictures ‚Äď Impressive Reflections of Their Period

The true value of the Kremsm√ľnster manuscript resides in its numerous miniatures which, in outspoken simplicity, greatly impress the beholder. Blue and red backgrounds alternate while the figures emerge before them in the natural color of the parchment. Their faces are generally lit with friendliness, charm, and a sympathetic mood. Evil faces, in contrast, are smeared in black. Everyday objects are represented: architecture and vestments provide an interesting insight into the culture of the early 14th century, making the manuscript a true treasure trove for the cultural history of this period.

A Late Medieval Book for Religious Edification

The Speculum shows the close relation between the New and the Old Testaments, in a number of archetypal series, each of which treats four episodes in both picture and text. A so-called anti-type opens the series with an event of salvation taken from the canon of the New Testament, thus determining the subject being treated. This is followed by three relevant preview scenes from the Old Testament. The interrelation of these four events allows the reader to apprehend the inner context of the salvation topic treated. The presentation offers a synthetic view of God’s plan of salvation, as declared both in the Old and in the New Union. Though the Salvation deed of God according to the New Testament is always preferred as the greater achievement. The great number of biblical scenes shown, and not least its extensive illustration cycle, have made the Speculum Humanae Salvationisthe most popular book of religious edification and one of the most widespread works of the Late Middle Ages.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Heilsspiegel
Spiegel des menschlichen Heils
Way to Human Salvation
Mirror of Human Salvation
Codex Kremsm√ľnster
Speculum Humanae Salvationis
Size / Format
124 pages / 33.5 √ó 25.5 cm
Origin
Austria
Date
1325‚Äď1330
Style
Illustrations
192 miniatures in the approx. size 80 x 80‚ÄĮmm, alternately on blue or red ground

Available facsimile editions:
Speculum Humanae Salvationis of Kremsm√ľnster ‚Äď Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) ‚Äď Codex Cremifanensis 243 ‚Äď Stift Kremsm√ľnster (Kremsm√ľnster, Austria)
Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) ‚Äď Graz, 1972
Limited Edition: 980 copies
Detail Picture

Speculum Humanae Salvationis of Kremsm√ľnster

Jesse Tree

This literal family tree tracing the genealogy of Jesus Christ is typically found before the Gospel of Matthew. As usual, the father of King David, Jesse, is depicted in repose at the root of the tree that grows from his side. The branches are filled with various biblical figures from that illustrious line while the trunk consists of a Madonna with Child, which in turn leads into a medallion with the Lamb of God. Expensive red paint was used to color the background.

Speculum Humanae Salvationis of Kremsm√ľnster ‚Äď Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) ‚Äď Codex Cremifanensis 243 ‚Äď Stift Kremsm√ľnster (Kremsm√ľnster, Austria)
Single Page

Sacramentary of Metz

Adoration of the Magi / Presentation in the Temple

This is a fine example of the 192 sparsely colored but nonetheless highly refined miniatures in this manuscript, which alternate between red and blue backgrounds. The scene exhibits a great sense of space and the figures’ faces are generally characterized by sympathetic, friendly, and charming expressions. Their garments are portrayed with a very realistic fall of folds.

One the left we see the Three Magi: one kneels to the enthroned Madonna and Child presenting a gift while the other two talk amongst themselves as one of them points out the star that guided them to Bethlehem. In the scene to the right, the baby Jesus is shown in the moment that he is being handed over to Simeon at the altar as he looks back at his mother.

Speculum Humanae Salvationis of Kremsm√ľnster ‚Äď Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) ‚Äď Codex Cremifanensis 243 ‚Äď Stift Kremsm√ľnster (Kremsm√ľnster, Austria)
Facsimile Editions

#1 Speculum Humanae Salvationis aus Kremsm√ľnster

Publisher: Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) ‚Äď Graz, 1972
Limited Edition: 980 copies
Binding: Leather, according to the original.
Commentary: 1 volume (46 pages) by Willibord Neum√ľller
Language: German

The scholarly commentary volume describes the content of the work as well as its illuminations and explains the typological structure of the Speculum.
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: ‚ā¨
(under 1,000‚ā¨)
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