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Leaf from an Apocalypse manuscript with miniatures
about 1340 - 1350
Tempera colors, gold leaf, and brown and black inks on parchment
Leaf: 45.4 x 30.5 cm (17 7/8 x 12 in.)
This large, double-sided leaf once introduced the Book of Revelations, the final book of the Christian Bible, presented almost exclusively in pictures. The text inspired the creation of many illuminated manuscripts in England, Spain, and Germany in the twelfth through fifteenth centuries. The theme became especially popular after 1244, when Jerusalem fell to the Muslims, which people feared was a signal that the end of time was approaching.
This leaf originally formed part of an elaborate pictorial manuscript depicting Saint John's visions and expressing his authority as a conveyor of the word of God. The tremendous size of the illustrations, and only brief snippets of text, suggest the artist intended the imagery was a primary means of communicating the meaning of the Revelations. Large-scale picture books of the Apocalypse from Germany, although exceedingly rare, provide an unusual regional example of such imagery in the Middle Ages.
Gothic Grandeur: Manuscript Illumination 1200-1350 (December 13, 2011 to May 13, 2012) (recto and verso)
- The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), December 13, 2011 to May 13, 2012
Pedersen, Nate. "The Getty Goes Gothic." Fine Books & Collections 10, no. 1 (Winter 2012), p. 23.
Hamburger, Jeffrey F. "Medieval Multiples before the Age of Print: The Weimar and Nuremberg Apocalypses in Light of a Newly Discovered Leaf." Anzeiger des Germanischen Nationalmuseums (2012), pp. 13-24, figs. 2, 4.