Val-Dieu Apocalypse

Val-Dieu Apocalypse Facsimile Edition

Normandy (France) — Ca. 1320–1330

The captivating art of Northern French illumination on every page: the horror and rapture of the Apocalypse in 83 magnificent miniatures

  1. This codex is part of a group of four extraordinarily fine early-14th century Apocalypse manuscripts from northern France

  2. It is the only one of the four that has a translation of the Book of Revelation’s text into French

  3. It is also the most meticulously executed of the group with 83 half-page miniatures appearing above the text

Val-Dieu Apocalypse

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  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Val-Dieu Apocalypse

The Apocalypse of Val-Dieu was probably written between 1320 and 1330 and belongs to a group of four manuscripts, which were produced at about the same time in northern France and were stylistically modeled on a now lost English manuscript of the 13th century. This outstanding manuscript is the most artistically valuable of the group. The 83 half-page miniatures adorning it are particularly elegant and realistic. This is also the only one among the four works that contains the text of Revelation in parallel in Latin and French translations. It is a true masterpiece of the Gothic style!

Val-Dieu Apocalypse

This Apocalypse manuscript is distinguished both for the quality of its illumination and the excellent state of its preservation. Stored under the shelf mark Add. Ms. 17333 in the British Library, the Val-Dieu Apocalypse likely originated from Normandy during the 1320’s. It is part of a group of four extraordinarily fine Apocalypse manuscripts from northern France during the first quarter of the 14th century, the other three are the Apocalypse of Saint-Victor (Paris, BnF MS lat. 14410), the Cloisters Apocalypse (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Cloisters Collection MS 68.174) and Namur, Grand Seminaire, MS 77. This group of manuscripts follows the iconographic program of a 13th century English Apocalypse manuscript, which was unfortunately destroyed in 1944 during the bombing of Metz. The manuscript at hand is the only one of the four that has a translation of the Book of Revelation’s text into French. Artistically speaking, it is the most meticulously executed of the group, particularly with regard to the elegance and realism of its portraiture. The work was rebound in the 17th century with gold-tooled green leather. Its name comes from its former residence in the library of the Cahrtreuse of Val-Dieu near Mortagne, in the diocese of Séez, which is evident in the inscription Ex Libris Cartusiae Vallis Dei written in a 17th century hand. The British Museum acquired the manuscript in 1848 from Thomas Rodd (1796–1849), an English antiquarian.

A Superior Image Program

The 83 half-page miniatures, which appear above the text, are distinguished by their nuance and sophistication. The artists took advantage of a wide range of colors and shading, highlighted with gold and presented before masterfully patterned backgrounds and set within simple colored frames. Unlike the now-lost 13th century English manuscript upon which it is modelled, it has a completely different conception of figures and scenes: the characters possess a realism and corporeality that brings out a tremendous vividness in the fantastic scenes of the Apocalypse. They are arranged in the English style, appearing at the top of the page and dominating the related text below. Four of the miniatures were removed, leaving only the lower halves with the text. The text is adorned with partial foliate borders, some containing birds and animals. All of these elements combine into a gorgeous masterpiece of the Gothic style.


Alternative Titles
Apoklypse von Val-Dieu
Size / Format
108 pages / 32.5 × 22.5 cm
Ca. 1320–1330
83 miniatures illuminated with gold

Available facsimile editions:
Val-Dieu Apocalypse  – Add. Ms. 17333 – British Library (London, United Kingdom) Facsimile Edition
M. Moleiro Editor – Barcelona, 2019
Limited Edition: 987 copies
Detail Picture

Val-Dieu Apocalypse

The Red Horse

Armed with a sword, the rider of the second horse is usually interpreted as representing civil war, as opposed to wars of conquest like the first bow-armed rider of the white horse: “When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, ‘Come and see.’ Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword.” (Rev. 6:3-4)

Val-Dieu Apocalypse
Single Page

Val-Dieu Apocalypse

The Second Eschatological Battle

After a millennium of imprisonment, Satan goes “out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them”. (Rev. 20:9–9)

Dressed in the arms and armor of the High Middle Ages, the deceived kings and their armies have gathered around Jerusalem, behind whose walls the faithful huddle together, only to be destroyed by God’s fiery wrath. This masterfully painted final battle of the Apocalypse results in Satan being cast into the Lake of Fire, represented by the Hellmouth in the lower left corner.

Val-Dieu Apocalypse
Facsimile Editions

#1 Val-Dieu Apocalypse

M. Moleiro Editor – Barcelona, 2019

Publisher: M. Moleiro Editor – Barcelona, 2019
Limited Edition: 987 copies
Binding: Green leather binding. Inside cover in red leather with gold motifs.
Commentary: 1 volume
Language: Spanish
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: €€€ (3,000€ - 7,000€)
Edition available
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