Christ in Majesty

Object Details

Title:

Christ in Majesty

Artist/Maker(s):

Unknown

Culture:

German

Date:

probably 1170s

Medium:

Tempera colors, gold leaf, silver leaf, and ink on parchment

Dimensions:

Leaf: 28.2 x 18.9 cm (11 1/8 x 7 7/16 in.)

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The two flanking, full-page miniatures of Christ in Majesty and the Crucifixion open the Canon of the Mass, during which the priest prepares bread and wine for the Eucharist. Here Christ sits within a mandorla surrounded by the four Evangelist symbols. He holds a book and raises his right hand in blessing, representing his Second Coming at the end of time. In this presentation, the artist included figures of four Old Testament prophets and patriarchs: Baruch, Jeremiah, Moses, and Daniel. Turning to look at Christ from the four corners of the miniature, they hold scrolls with words celebrating God's glory. Potestas ei[us] potest[as] et[er]n[a] (His power is everlasting power), declares Daniel's scroll on the bottom right.

To enliven the monumentality and centrality of the composition, the artist arranged the subsidiary figures as counterbalances to Christ's strict frontality. While all the figures look at Christ, the prophets at the corners twist their bodies and each raises one hand. The artist also minimized the severity of the presentation through the alternation of color and patterning in the frame.

Related Works
Exhibitions
Masterpieces of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscript illumination (December 16, 1997 to March 22, 1998)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), December 16, 1997 to March 22, 1998
"In the Beginning was the Word": Medieval Gospel Illumination (August 30 to November 27, 2011)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), August 30 to November 27, 2011