BEATO DE VALCAVADO
* Reference: Biblioteca del Colegio de Santa Cruz de la Universidad de Valladolid, cod. 433.
* Other Names:Beato de Valladolid.
* Dimensions: 355 x 245 mm, although it was larger, since the folios have been cut out.
* Approximately 230 folios in parchment, more than 14 disappeared, in round Visigothic typeface.
* 87 miniatures.
* Facsimile available: C.M. Editores.
Study of the Blessed of Valcavado by our collaborator Jean-Luc Monneret in which all the images of the manuscript have been digitally cleaned. Click the image to access.
Oveco started this blessed on June 8th 970 and he finished it on September, 8th of the same year, a surprisingly short period of time for a work of this category, as it seems obvious it was created by a single hand.
The course of this blessed is complicated, although known. In spite of the extinction of the monastic community in the 12th century, the manuscript was preserved in the church of the locality until by the end of the 16th century, when Valcavado was almost deserted. Teófilo Guerra, Provisor of the Bishop of Leon and Archdeacon of Valderas, took it to Leon. From there it was taken to Madrid to the attention of a secretary of Philip the Second, being Ambrosio de Morales the first author from which a reference of this manuscript is preserved. At the beginning of the 17th century, Father Antonio Padilla took it to the Jesuit College of St. Ambrosio in Valladolid and finally in 1767, after the expulsion of the jesuits by Charles the Third the whole library of that college passed to the University of Valladolod where it is now, after several changes of building.
Also, as in the referred blessed, the space is treated based on strips of irregular width. This similarity expands in many cases to the content of the illustrations that in general follow a new pictorial tradition opened by Magius in that work and keep the same Islamic influences in the dressing and attitudes of some of the characters.
The miniatures reveal the speed of its elaboration, reducing the drawing to the line that delimits the figures, although this synthetization seems to correspond more to the urgency to finish the work than to a technical scarcity, since, despite that, the images express agility, skill and a great sense of aesthetics in the utilization of colours.
This codex stands out for the vitality of its characters with large almond eyes that show a very exalted attitude, more “apocalyptic” than the rest of the blessed. The colours used by Oveco are more vivid, placing the images on red, blue and yellow stripes. It is also very meaningful for being so indigenous and for the great Islamic influence shown in the dressing of the characters and in the architectures included in its miniatures.
Written on well treated parchment of medium width, with very good handwriting in round Visigothic typeface, the text corresponds to what is considered to be the first group of the second composition of the Blessed of Liébana, like those of Escalada, Ferdinand the First, from Seo de Urgel and the one from Silos, now in the British Library in London.
There are several notes on the margins, the most interesting ones are those that Oveco himself added, it seems in the revision of the manuscript; of lesser interest are the ones from the 12th century and others from later. As a curious note we underline the cantiga written in medieval Galician discovered in 1918 in one of its first pages dated in the first half of the 13th century and very close to the cantigas by Alphonse the Wise. Initially it was attributed to Ferdinand the Third, although that possibility has been discarded.
A study of the molecular structure of the pigments used in the miniatures of this Blessed has been achieved recently, revealing that its rich range of colours was gotten in fact out of the combination of very few minerals, like azurite, malachite and, specially, cinnabar. The most advanced technology has been used for this study by which a physical and chemical analysis can be achieved in situ without causing any harm.
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
El Beato de la Universidad de Valladolid: José Antonio Fernández Flórez