Trinity Apocalypse

Trinity Apocalypse

Northern France or England (United Kingdom) — 1242–1260

Created for a mysterious unknown patron: a major work of the English Gothic style with magnificent miniatures in shining gold

  1. This great English Gothic Apocalypse is considered to be a major work of its time

  2. Intense reds and blues are emblazoned by fine gold leaf in the 70 miniatures

  3. A distinguished lady – possibly the patron – continually resurfaces throughout the imagery

Trinity Apocalypse

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  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Trinity Apocalypse

The Apocalypse manuscript named after its repository in Cambridge has come up with a pictorial treasure, which is without equal. In over 100 pictures, the Revelation of John about the end of the world and the Day of Judgement is portrayed in wonderful colorful, richly detailed miniatures. The magnificent Trinity Apocalypse, which was created for an unknown commissioner, can be classified stylistically in the English artistic landscape, but simultaneously exhibits French-Gothic characteristics. Along with the French text, it offers the figure of a mysterious “distinguished lady” as well as unique and mysterious details in an innovative artistic concept.

Trinity Apocalypse

The apocalypse manuscript named after its repository in Cambridge has come up with a pictorial treasure that is without equal. In over 100 pictures, the Revelation of John about the end of the world and the Day of Judgement is portrayed in wonderful colorful, richly detailed miniatures. The magnificent Trinity Apocalypse, which was created for an unknown commissioner, can be classified stylistically in the English artistic landscape, but simultaneously exhibits French-Gothic characteristics.
##Wondrous Stories in Luminous Colors
Pandemonium rules the scenes: a black sun, a red moon, leaning and collapsing towers, flying waves, a horde of scared people. A single man standing on the left margin observes the wild events before a dark blue night’s sky in utter silence. The mysterious Revelation of John about the end of the world and the accompanying Day of Judgement with events that are equally joyous and frightening uses drastic and powerful imagery. The apocalypse was an especially popular theme for manuscripts in 13th century England. In the Trinity Apocalypse, which according to recent research originates from sometime after 1250, the artists succeed in creating a particularly impressive illustration of John’s tales. In 70 miniatures with over 100 individual pictures, the four illuminators, who can be differentiated from one another stylistically, portray approximately every passage of the book in a stylistic depiction. In doing so, the bizarre images are intensified with powerful colors, especially red and blue, and richly employed, often finely engraved gold. In a rectangular, gold framed image field, the mostly multi-figured scenes find their respective place. In doing so, not even the smallest fleck is free of decorative ornamentation.

A Masterwork of Anglo-Saxon Book Art

The commission of the apocalypse manuscript is unexplained. Stylistically, the artistic design, seconded by the distinctly linear style, can be placed in either England or Northern France. With regard to the artists, two can obviously be characterized as late English Romanesque, the other two are already Gothic and more likely French. The French language is also another peculiarity of the Trinity Apocalypse: the text is a specific French translation from Latin. An exciting detail, that always bothers the scholarship, is the distinguished lady, which constantly resurfaces in some of the miniatures. Some want to see the English Queen Eleanor, the wife of King Henry III in her. The very hypothetical connection to her would make the splendid and highly artistic design of the manuscript plausible. The design of the Trinity Apocalypse offers an additional innovation. On its 32 sheets, the Revelation is framed by the telling of the John’s life story on 11 pages. This artistic principle can be observed more frequently in subsequent works. Thus the magnificently colored and expressive miniatures are closely associated with the person of its author, traditionally believed to be John the Evangelist.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Trinity College Apocalypse
Trinity-Apokalypse
Size / Format
62 pages / 43.2 × 30.5 cm
Origin
France
Date
1242–1260
Style
Language
Illustrations
70 large-format miniatures with over one 100 individual pictures
Previous Owners
Ralph Brownrigg, Bishop of Exeter (1592–1649)

Available facsimile editions:
Trinity Apocalypse – MS.R.16.2 – Trinity College (Cambridge, United Kingdom)
Faksimile Verlag – Lucerne, 2004
Limited Edition: 980 copies
Detail Picture

Trinity Apocalypse

Satan Imprisoned for 1,000 Years

John narrates on the left: “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.” (Rev. 20:1-3)

Trinity-Apocalypse
Single Page

Trinity Apocalypse

The Lamb on Mount Zion

“And I looked and lo, a Lamb stood on Mount Zion, and with Him a hundred forty and four thousand, having His Father’s name written in their foreheads…And they sang, as it were, a new song before the throne, and before the four living beings and the elders; and no man could learn that song, except the hundred and forty and four thousand who were redeemed from the earth” (Rev. 14:1,3)

This grand three-quarter-page miniature depicts the multitudes of the faithful, the first to be saved. Brilliantly burnished gold attracts one’s attention to the empty throne surrounded by the Evangelist symbols. Christ has yet to appear, and the elders, depicted as kings, look and gesture to one another with anticipation. John, the narrator, appears in the left margin.

Trinity-Apocalypse
Facsimile Editions

#1 Trinity-Apocalypse

Faksimile Verlag – Lucerne, 2004
Trinity Apocalypse – MS.R.16.2 – Trinity College (Cambridge, United Kingdom)
Trinity Apocalypse – MS.R.16.2 – Trinity College (Cambridge, United Kingdom) Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: Faksimile Verlag – Lucerne, 2004
Limited Edition: 980 copies
Binding: The fine art facsimile is protected by a white cover of goat leather embossed with gold, masterly executed by the bookbinder. The front and back cover is decorated with the coat of arms of the English royal family. To protect the facsimile edition, it is furnished with an acrylic slip case.
Commentary: 1 volume (393 pages) by David McKitterick, Nigel Morgan, Ian Shor and Teresa Webber
Languages: English, 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.
Price Category: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
Edition available
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