BEATO DE TÁBARA
- Reference: National Historical Archive, Madrid 1097B.
- Dimensions: 365 x 255 mm, written in Visigothic typeface at two columns.
- Only 14 miniatures preserved of the hundred it had, 5 of them very harmed. .
- Available facsimile: C.M. Editores.
In the last one of these two folios, a colophon explains in an excellent omega letter, in a way not lacking humour, that the blessed had been begun by master Magius in the monastery of Tábara, but when he died before having finished his task, this was continued by his disciple Emeterio and the nun Eude who finished it on July 27th 970. The other added folio has the image of the tower of Tábara, where the monastery of St. Salvador’s scriptorium and the calligraphists and miniaturists Senior, Emeterio and an assistant in the midst of their labour are drawn. Considered as one of the most interesting images in all Mozarabic miniature, from our end we use it as this web’s logo.
The information described, that corresponds to the disappeared blessed, of which only those two last pages have survived, has motivated that for a long time it was thought that it referred to the full manusript and for that reason it is still being called Blessed of Tábara, in spite it is unknown the Leonese scriptorium where the first part was created, that must have been of Mozarabic origin for the quantity of marginal notes in Arab that it has.
The history of this manuscript is unknown from the destruction of the monastery by Almanzor in 988, until after the disentailment of the 19th century when it became property of Ramón Álvarez de la Breña, archivist of León. Then it went to the high School of Diplomacy in Madrid and in 1872 to the National Historical Museum in Madrid where it is now preserved after a very thorough restoration due to the terrible
condition it got there.
The Blessed of Tábara follows the more recent IIb phase of the illustrated version of 786, different to IIa, dated in 784, in which Magius was based for his Blessed of Escalada. For that reason it is considered as the origin of a series of later manuscripts, like the Blessed of Gerona, that also followed this last version.
Fot the characteristics an quality of the few miniatures that have survived, it is obvious that this blessed was created in a Leonese monastery where there were monks that perfectly knew the Arabic writing and in the middle of the 10th cntury, the most brilliant period of the Mozarabic miniature in this region.
Despite its deplorable state of conservation, with most of the miniatures gone, and the confusion about the last two pages, the wrongly called Blessed of Tábara has provided very valuable information on the Mozarabic miniature of our 10th century. In fact, thanks to these last two pages we are able to know Magius’ date of death and the handover to Emeterio of his title of archipictor of the monastery of Tábara, just before it was destroyed. We meet again Emeterio later, also with the help of the nun Ende, as authors of the Blessed of the Cathedral of Gerona, possibly the last piece of work of the scriptorium of Tábara, that would disappear a few years later.
But at the same time, the first part of the manuscript enables us to know Monniu, another miniaturist of great quality, although we cannot know in which monastery did he work nor even whether it was one of those we already know through other works or if it was a scriptorium of which we do not have any information so far. Nevertheless, this blessed, of unknown origin and created by an artist from which we lack further news, confirms the enormous quality that the Mozarabic miniature reached in the 10th century.
Historia de España de Menéndez Pidal: Tomos VI y VII*
SUMMA ARTIS: Tomos VIII y XXII
L’Art Préroman Hispanique: ZODIAQUE
Arte y Arquitectura española 500/1250: Joaquín Yarza
Beato de Tábara: original conservado en el Archivo Histórico Nacional de Madrid: Vicente García Lobo.