The Illustrated Beatus: The Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuriesby John Williams, J. Williams, Beatus
Pub. Date: 03/01/2003
Publisher: Brepols Publishers
This publication is the fifth and final volume in the series that catalogues and illustrates all extant manuscripts of Beatus's Commentary on the Apocalypse. It is a tradition that originated in the monastery of San Toribio in the valley of Liebana, where the monk Beatus compiled his commentary on the Book of Revelation in 776 A.D., and that had its last manifestation in the stylistically exuberant manuscript in Paris, the Arroyo Beatus, produced shortly before the middle of the thirteenth century. Six illustrated Commentaries and one fragment are catalogued in the present volume. The spectacular Rylands Beatus in Manchester, dated around 1175 and the Las Huelgas Beatus in New York, made some fifty years later, contain the most complete cycles of illustrations, and both also have links with the Castilian capital of Burgos. The Cardena Beatus, which has a more complex origin, is now divided between four different collections, though a major part of the manuscript is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Also catalogued is the sophisticated Romanesque Beatus of Navarre in Paris, as well as the only Commentary produced in Portugal - the Lorvao Beatus now in Lisbon. The fragment also included here, consisting of a single folio plus part of another, found its way from Medina de Rioseco to Mexico in the 16th century, and by chance contained illustrations that allowed it to be identified as part of a Beatus Commentary of the early thirteenth century. In addition to the author's Introduction and detailed catalogue, the volume includes a corpus of more than 500 illustrations. As in the catalogues of earlier periods, all inscriptions contained in the manuscripts have been transcribed, and an overview of apocalypse subjects illustrated in all 26 surviving manuscripts can be seen on the clearly presented Table. The exhaustive Bibliography is here updated and there is an Index.
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