Every single Psalm illustrated with great attention to detail: the most richly illuminated Psalter of the Carolingian era

Stuttgart Psalter

Scriptorium at St. Germain-des-Prés (Paris, France) — 820-830

Stuttgart Psalter

Stuttgart Psalter

Scriptorium at St. Germain-des-Prés (Paris, France) — 820-830

  1. This Carolingian psalter originated ca. 825 in the scriptorium of St. Germain-des-Prés in Paris

  2. The patron, the circumstances of its genesis, and its further provenance remain unknown today

  3. A master of their art adorned it with 316 lively miniatures and 162 historiated initials

Stuttgarter Bilderpsalter (Parchment Edition)

Stuttgart Psalter

Decorative Initial: Psalm 102

This is one of the Seven Penitential Psalms and is referred to in the Hebrew tradition as “a prayer for the afflicted”. Instead of having an incipit or large initial for the opening lines, the designer of this Psalter chose to highlight the following passage with an unusual and highly stylized “S” initial with the head of a heron and gold leaf: “I am like a pelican of the wilderness; I am like an owl of the desert. I lie awake, And am like a sparrow alone on the housetop.” (Psalm 102:7-8)

Stuttgart Psalter

Alternative Titles:
  • Stuttgart Picture Psalter
  • Stuttgarter Bilderpsalter
  • Psautier de Stuttgart
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

One can come up with a few superlatives Stuttgart Psalter straight away: the most important manuscript of the Württembergischen Landesbibliothek, the most richly illustrated Carolingian psalter of outstanding quality. Originating at the beginning of the 9th century in St. Germain-des- Prés, its provenance and history are wrapped in mystery. Nevertheless, since its scholarly discovery 1,000 years after its genesis, the manuscript of the Stuttgart Psalter amazes just about every connoisseur and lover of Carolingian illumination!

Stuttgart Psalter

A variety of gorgeous miniatures illustrate the Stuttgart Psalter, be it Christ on the cross as redeemer of mankind, an enthroned monarch before a grandiose backdrop, enigmatic scenes with fantastic beasts, or impressive depictions of everyday life. It is no coincidence that it is also famous as the so-called Stuttgart Picture-Psalter. Liveliness is probably the appropriate term for the gorgeous overall impression, which the numerous illustrative depictions evoke for the beholder.

A Psalter Rich in Imagery

The 150 Latin Psalms – important parts of Christian liturgy – are adorned with 316 miniatures and 162 initials on 300 pages. These illustrations stand firmly in the tradition of great Carolingian illumination. A few of the miniatures were probably based on ancient originals. Nonetheless, the visual adornment gives information about the time of the psalter’s genesis, e.g. an inside view into clothing and fashion. Individual motifs often overrun the edge of the framing background. This is not only an indication of the great master of their art who was at work here and innovatively conceived of and created an outstanding Carolingian illuminated manuscript.

A French Masterpiece

Whoever created this splendor remains unknown today. Nevertheless, it is generally agreed among researchers that the Stuttgart Psalteroriginated between 820 and 830 and is a masterpiece from the scriptorium of St. Germain-des-Prés in Paris. This important place of origin was the burial site for kings and the richest abbeys around Paris at that time. Yet even the patron and the circumstances of its genesis remain an unsolved mystery today, just like the further provenance of the psalter.

A Gift for the Prince Elector

The manuscript is named after its modern repository, the Württembergischen Landesbibliothek in Stuttgart. It probably came there at the end of the 18th century as a gift from Danial Gottlieb Friedrich Faber to Prince-Elector Carl Eugen von Württemberg, who had recently founded the library. 1,000 years after its creations, the manuscript finally enjoyed its due consideration and academic attention, e.g. a first description in the travelogue of an English librarian.

Admired and Coveted

The amazement and wonder with which the Stuttgart Psalter was met was not merely for its own benefit. In the course of the 20th century, the codex has been disassembled several times and presented in exhibitions and could only be elaborately restored for the first time a decade ago. Today, this gem of Carolingian illumination presents itself in its original luster.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Stuttgart Picture Psalter
Stuttgarter Bilderpsalter
Psautier de Stuttgart
Size / Format
336 pages / 26.5 x 17.5 cm
Date
820-830
Language
Script
Carolingian miniscule
Illustrations
316 colorful miniatures, 162 decorated initials
Content
Book of Psalms according to the Gallican Rite
Previous Owners
Stuttgarter Bilderpsalter (Parchment Edition)

Stuttgart Psalter

Crucifixion

This unusual Crucifixion scene is split into two registers. Before a faded dark-blue background, Christ appears to stand more than hang on the cross. Although individual nails are depicted for each his feet, his hands are unpierced, as is his side, and his face is serene – he is Christ the King, already triumphant over death, as opposed to the more human, suffering Christ typically pictured.

Two soldiers sitting near the cross point out the angels who have appeared flanking the Messiah, while two more in the lower register fight over his discarded robes, one holding a knife. The most notable and unusual features of this miniature include a unicorn and lion, as well as an unusually muscular Christ with the pectoral muscles of a body builder.

2 available facsimile edition(s) of „Stuttgart Psalter“

Stuttgarter Bilderpsalter (Parchment Edition)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
Stuttgart Psalter – Bibl. fol. 23 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany)
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Stuttgarter Bilderpsalter (Parchment Edition)

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
E. Schreiber Graphische Kunstanstalten – Stuttgart, 1965-1969
Limited Edition
50
Binding
Embossed Leather binding with 4 genuine bands and 2 clasps
Commentary
1 volume by Bernhard Bischoff, Florentine Mütherich, Bonifatius Fischer and Hermann Josef Frede
Language: German
More Information
Folios are cut according to the original.
Stuttgarter Bilderpsalter (Leather Edition)
Imageof

Stuttgarter Bilderpsalter (Leather Edition)

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
E. Schreiber Graphische Kunstanstalten – Stuttgart, 1965-1968
Limited Edition
600
Binding
Parchment binding with 4 genuine bands
Commentary
1 volume by Bernhard Bischoff, Florentine Mütherich, Bonifatius Fischer and Hermann Josef Frede
Language: German
More Information
Folios are not cut according to the original.
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