Abbey Bible

Object Details

Title:

Abbey Bible

Artist/Maker(s):

Unknown

Culture:

Italian

Date:

about 1250 - 1262

Medium:

Tempera colors, gold leaf, and ink on parchment covered with oak boards backed in white alum-tawed pigskin

Dimensions:

Closed: 27 x 19.7 cm (10 5/8 x 7 3/4 in.)

See more

See less

Produced for the use of a Dominican monastery, the Abbey Bible is one of the earliest and finest in a distinguished group of north Italian Bibles from the second half of the thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries. Most of these are associated with Bologna, one of the major centers for the production of Gothic illuminated Bibles. Its illumination is a superb example of the influence of the Byzantine style of the eastern Mediterranean that played a dominant role in Italian painting and manuscript illumination in the second half of the thirteenth century.

The illumination and marginal vignettes of the Abbey Bible are remarkable for their liveliness and delicacy. Sensitively depicted facial expressions, rare among Bibles of this era, and dynamic compositions, reveal the artist to be a skilled storyteller.

While filled with amusing figures and spirited pen flourishes, the Bible was nevertheless intended for serious use and study. The text contains many edits, corrections, and amendments, suggesting a university origin for the manuscript. The book appears to be made for a Dominican monastery and devout Dominicans and Franciscans appear prominently in its imagery.

Related Works
Exhibitions
International Art Treasures Exhibition (1962) (no. 650; fols. 3v-4)
  • Victoria and Albert Museum, (London), 1962
Gothic Grandeur: Manuscript Illumination 1200-1350 (December 13, 2011 to May 13, 2012) (fols. 3v - 4; fols. 194v - 195)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), December 13, 2011 to May 13, 2012
The Art of Devotion in the Middle Ages (August 28, 2012 to February 5, 2013) (fols. 223v - 224)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), August 28, 2012 to February 5, 2013
Heaven and Earth: Byzantine Illumination at the Cultural Crossroads (March 25 to June 22, 2014) (fols. 194v - 195)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 25 to June 22, 2014
Sanctity Pictured: The Art of the Dominican and Franciscan Orders in Renaissance Italy (October 31, 2014 to January 25, 2015) (3; fol. 223v - 224)
  • Frist Center for the Visual Arts, (Nashville), October 31, 2014 to January 25, 2015
Bibliography

Ellis, London. One hundred and fifty choice and valuable books and manuscripts. 1913, lot 152.

Warner, George. Descriptive Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts in the Library of C. W. Dyson Perrins. 2 vols. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1920), vol. 1, no. 51, pp. 138-145; vol. 2, unpaginated, pls. 53-55.

d'Ancona, Paolo. La Miniature Italienne du Xe au XVIe (Paris and Brussels: Librairie Nationale d'Art et d'Histoire, 1925), p. 18n2.

Toesca, Pietro. Storia dell'Arte Italiana Il medioevo 2 vols. (Turin, 1927), vol. 2, pp. 1134n13.

Hermann, Hermann Julius. Neapolitanische und toskanische Handschriften der zweiten Hälfte des XIV. Jahrhunderts. Vol. 3, Die italienischen Handschriften des Dugento und Trecento (Leipzig: Verlag von Karl W. Hiersemann, 1930), pp. 250-288, figs. 105-121.

Maggs Bros., London. Manuscripts, Rare Books, Oriental Miniatures. 1960, pp. 16, ill., 84-85, lot 78.

International Confederation of Dealers in Works of Art. International Art Treasures Exhibition, exh. cat. (London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1962), p. 79, no. 650, pl. 327.

Daneu Lattanzi, Angela. "Ancora sulla scuola miniaturistica dell'Italia meridionale sveva, suo contributo allo sviluppo della miniatura bolognese," La bibliofilia, LXVI (1964), p. 150.

Orlandi, Stefano. "I libri corali di S. Maria Novella con miniature dei secoli XIII e XIV," Memorie dominicane, NS LXXXII (1965), pp. 195-196, 195n70, 196n71.

Rotili, Mario. La Miniatura Gotica in Italia (Naples: Librearia Scientifica Editrice, 1968), p. 54.

Alexander, Jonathan J. G., and Albinia C. de la Mare. The Italian Manuscripts in the Library of Major J.R. Abbey (London: Faber and Faber, 1969), pp. 12-19, no. 7345 (entry by J.J.G. Alexander), pls. A, 6b, 7-8.

Fallani, Giovanni. "Oderisi da Gubbio e Franco Bolognese." Studi Danteschi XLVIII(1971), p. 139.

Eleen, Luba. "Acts Illustration in Italy and Byzantium." Dumbarton Oaks Papers, 31 (1977), pp. 262-264, fig. 39, 50.

Passalacqua, Roberta. I Codici Liturgici Miniati Dugenteschi nell'Archivio Capitolare del Duomo di Arezzo (Florence: Giunta regionale toscana & La Muova Italia Editrice, 1980), p. 72, fig. 59.

Conti, Alessandro. La miniatura bolognese: scuole e botteghe, 1270-1340 (Bologna, 1981), p. 23n17.

Ciardi Duprè dal Poggetto, Maria Grazia. "La miniatura nei libri francescani." Francesco d'Assisi, documenti e archivi, codici e biblioteche, miniature (Milan: Electa, 1982), p. 325.

Gousset, Marie-Thérèse. "Un témoignage inédit de l'enluminure bolonaise du XIIIe siècle," Revue de l'Art, LVII (1982), pp. 55n7, 55n10.

Eleen, Luba. The Illustration of the Pauline Epistles in French and English Bibles of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries (Oxford, 1982), pp. 29, 32n187, 33n190-191, 34, 35n198, 77, 91, 94, 99-100, 109, pls. 195 and 224.

Avril, François and Marie-Thérèse Gousset. Manuscrits Enluminés d'Origine Italienne: Xiii e siècle, vol. 2 (Paris: Bibliotheque nationale, 1984), pp. 77-78ns.7-9, 86.

de Hamel, Christopher. A History of Illuminated Manuscripts (Oxford: Phaidon, 1986), pl. 114.

Corrie, Rebecca W. "The Conradin Bible, Ms. 152, The Walters Art Gallery: Manuscript Illumination in a Thirteenth-Century Italian Atelier," Ph.D. diss. (Harvard University, 1986), pp. 82, 130n41, 164, 167, 170, 171, 172, 181, 198, 200, 225, 230, 281, 521-523, 531, 535.

Sotheby's, London. Catalogue of The Celebrated Library of the late Major J.R. Abbey. June, 19, 1989, pp. 31-45, lot 3013, ill., back cover ill.

Marrow, James H. "An Italianate Episode in Dutch Manuscript Illumination." Wiener Jahrbuch für Kunstgeschichte 46-47, no. 2 (1993/1994), p. 473n10.

Norris, Michael Byron. "Early Gothic Bibles Illuminated at Bologna: the `Prima Maniera' Phase, 1250-1274." Ph.D. diss.(University of California, Santa Barbara, 1993), pp. 263, 275, 286-292, 340-345, 503-504, 546, 685-700, 899-900, 905, figs. 59, 60, 65, 66, 68, 127.

Valagussa, Giovanni, "Il Miniatore di Lanfranco de Pancis. Un nuovo personaggio nella storia della miniatura duecentesca." Arte Cristiana, 81 (1993), pp.323-336.

Benati, Daniele, eds. "Prima di Giotto." Il Trecento riminese: maestri e botteghe tra Romagna e Marche (Milano: Electa, 1995), p. 74-75, entry by Giovanni Valagussa.

Lollini, Fabrizio, "Tre schede per l'arte in Romagna tra XIII e XIV secolo." Romagna arte e storia, 47 (1996), pp.85-108.

Medica, Massimo. Duecento. Forme e colori del Medioevo a Bologna, Massimo Medica, eds. (Venezia: Marsiglio, 2000), entry n. 102, p. 244, under no. 68, entry by Marie-Thérèse Gousset.

Bollati, Milvia, ed. "Miniatore di Lanfranco de Pancis." Dizionario Biografico dei miniatori Italiani. Secoli IX - XVI (Milano: Sylvestre Bonnard, 2004), pp. 778-779, entry by Giovanni Valagussa.

Alexander, Jonathan J.G., James H. Marrow, Lucy F. Sandler, eds. The Splendor of the Word: Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts at the New York Public Library, exh. cat. (New York: New York Public Library; with London: Harvey Miller, 2006), pp. 71-77, entry by Susan L'Engle.

Stocks, Bronwyn, and Nigel Morgan, eds. The Medieval Imagination. Illuminated Manuscripts from Cambridge, Australia and New Zealand, (Melbourne: Victoria 3000 Australia, 2008), p. 6, entry by Christopher De Hamel.

Christie's, London. The Arcana Collection: Exceptional Illuminated Manuscripts and Incunabla, Part I. July 7, 2010, pp. 64-71, lot 28, ill., frontispiece ill.

Waldmann, Klaus. "Splendore Miniato: La Miniatura Gotica al Getty." Alumina 10, no. 36 (January-March 2012), pp. 46-47, ill.

Pedersen, Nate. "The Getty Goes Gothic." Fine Books & Collections 10, no. 1 (Winter 2012), pp. 23-24, ill.

Sciacca, Christine, ed. Florence at the Dawn of the Renaissance: Painting and Illumination, 1300-1350, exh. cat. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2012), p. 95, ill.; pp. 133, 267.

Pedersen, Nate. "The Getty Goes Gothic." Fine Books & Collections, Issue 10.1 (Winter 2012), pp. 23-24.

Loewen, Peter V. Music in Early Franciscan Thought (Leiden: Brill, 2013), cover ill.

Lollini, Fabrizio, "Due Torri, una fede. Una bibbia domenicana bolognese." Alumina Pagine Miniate, 43 (2013), pp. 6-13.

Morrison, Elizabeth, Mary Louise Hart, and Justine Andrews. "Splendori dal Bosforo." Alumina: Pagine miniate 12, no. 45, Lucia Mariani, trans. (April-June 2014), p. 51, ill.