Yesterday I posted the announcement of the St Albans Psalter. Today the British Library announced that the St Æthelwold Manuscript has been digitized. They offer a brief history on their site. I was able to study a few pages.
The frames are elaborate "in the extreme". Each one is a unique piece of art and the "Baroque" of their day.
The first illumination that drew my eye was the Annunciation since it is always very popular and I was wondering how the artist rendered this.
As I was looking for the traditional layout, my eye fell upon what looks like a dog or cat (?) or maybe it is the devil with legs hanging out of his mouth. The animal is located at the base of pillar in the middle of the scene and half covered by Angel Gabriel's cloud. I'm not an expert by any means, but I am guessing that this was a quirky innovation of the artist and it didn't catch on. There might be some symbolic meaning for this.
The second illumination, the Second Coming of Christ, is intriguing because here the artist mixes the biblical account into one sweeping scene. You see Christ, surrounded by a mandorla or aureola, leading the charge. He is holding a rod and book. There are nine bands of gold on his garment. The Book of Revelation describes Christ as having "on his garment, and on his thigh written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS" (Rev. 19 16). I'm wondering if the bands have anything written on them. An army of angels follow him. Each one carries a different instrument- a staff, a sword, book, and a cross. More follow in prayer. They are all surrounded in an ethereal cloud.
Notes, Art, Photography CMJENTZ ©2013-2018
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“It is with the smallest brushes that the artist paints the most exquisitely beautiful pictures.” (St. André Bessette)