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General description of the manuscripts


Monastery of Sahagún? - Principios del S. XII - Biblioteca Corsiniana, Roma

Manuscript of Spanish origin, probably from the monastery of St. Benedict of Sahagún, that stands out from the rest of blessed for its reduced size and for including just eight miniatures. Nothing is known about its history nor how it became a Corsini family belonging although it is possible it passed by the hands of the Count Duke of Olivares, who requisitioned many codex from churches and monasteries.


San Millán de la Cogolla - Siglos X y XI - Real Academia del la Historia, Madrid

Illuminated in two phases, one clearly Mozarabic, from the end of the 10th century, considered as the most typical work from St. Millán de la Cogolla’s scriptorium, and the other one with very different characteristics, possibly from the end of the 11th century, where the spaces left by the scribe were filled with new miniatures. In the paintings of this phase, sometimes intermingled with the former one, there are lots of characteristics of clear Romanesque influence.

Beato de Berlín

Central Italy - Principles of S. XII - Statatsbibliothec Preussischer Khulturbesitz, Berlín

It is another blessed created out of Spain. With 98 pages of 300 x 190 mm written in Caroline typeface, although in the text of the drawings the Visigothic typsetting is used, and its 55 pen and ink drawings in small size looks very different than the rest of the known blessed. It is attributed to some monastery in the centre or south of Italy and John Williams includes it in the same group of the Blessed of Burgo de Osma and Lorvao, although the carachteristics of their miniatures are quite different.


Monastery of Sahagun - 1086 - Cathedral of Burgo de Osma (Soria)

Developed during the full Cluniacense influence, this blessed, that consists of 166 pages and 71 miniatures, although maintaining clear influences of Mozarabic works like the first blessed of the National Library, the one of El Escorial and the one of St. Millán, has a clear link with the Romanesque painting, for instance, in the
replacement in some cases of the horseshoe arches by semi circular ones, or in the apparel of the characters that clearly reflect the customs in the 11th century. We can consider it as the first Hispanic Romanesque blessed.

Beato de Ciruena

Monastery of the Navarre Pyrenees? - IXe siècle. -

Only one page of this manuscript has been preserved coming from St. Andrew of Cirueña, who was protecting a document from 1074. Both for its archaic caligraphy as well as for the poor quality of the colours of the miniature and of the signing ink, it is considered as the most ancient Blessed of which a segment has reached these days, possibly created around the year 900 or even earlier, in a scriptorium in the Pyrenees, as it contains some abbreviations more common in France than in the Mozarabic manuscripts of Castile and León.


St. Millán de la Cogolla - 955 - El Escorial Monastery

Considered almost unanimously as have been originated in St. Millán de la Cogolla and dated between 950 and 955. It consists of 151 pages and 52 miniatures that show the characteristics of the works of said monastery: aggressive colours with yellow predominating as a background; characters’ faces treated equally, with great expression, almond eyed, straight necks, lip corners downwards and double lobed ears.

Beato de Fanlo

San Millán de la Cogolla - 1040/1060 - Copies i B. Morgan, N. York

From this manuscript only seven pages have been preserved. Copied in the 17th century, they reproduce in water colour those of a volume of the blessed disappeared, that for its similarity it seems to belong to the same family than the Blessed of St. Millán de la Cogolla preserved in the Monastery of El Escorial. It was possibly donated to the abbot Banzo from the Monastery of Fanlo, in the Pyrenees of Aragón, thanks to Ramiro the First -the monarch of Aragon-‘s mediation, to whom the manuscript is dedicated as shown in its colophon.


León - 1047 - Biblioteca Nacional (Madrid) Vitr. 14-2

This is the only blessed (with the possible exception of the Blessed of Las Huelgas) that was copied for the kings of Castile and León. Commisioned by Ferdinand the First and Doña Sancha, it consists of 624 pages of 360 x 268 mm to 2 columns in Visigothic writing and 98 miniatures of great quality. It was preserved in the Colegiata of St. Isidore of León until Philip the Fourth requisitioned it and sent it to the Royal Library. Today it is preserved in the National Library of Madrid, in the showcase 14,2. Illustrated during the period in which the Cluniacense influence was beginning to show up, it corresponds to a very meaningful change in style with regard to the Spanish miniature of the preceeding century.


San Salvador de Tábara - 975 - Cathedral of Gerona

With 568 pages in two columns and 114 miniatures, it is the blessed with the most number of illustrations ever preserved, including an important amount of illustrative material not available in previous blessed. Main authorship attributed to the nun Ende, it is the only blessed which illumination had been carried out by a woman, what seems to be reflected through its exuberant polichromy, in the vigour of its shapes and in the iconographic innovations not found in the rest if the blessed.


Abbey of Monte Cassino? - Mediados del siglo XI - Biblioteca de Ginebra

Blessed recently discovered when the Missionaries of La Salle deposited a collection of old manuscripts in the Library of Geneva. Written in round Caroline typeface and the largest part in Beneventana typsetting. Although this type of letter indicates an Italian origin, its miniatures respect the structure and contents of the Spanish blessed, although the style has little relationship with the Mozarabic miniature.


Monastery of Valcavado? - 975 - Cathedral of Deo Urgel's Cathedral

From the end of the 10th century, it belongs to the same pictorial tradition of the Blessed of Escalada and Valcavado for which its is believed it was originated in the latter one. The manuscript consisting of 239 pages of 398 x 270 mm, seven pages numbered in Roman and 232 in Arab, written in rounded Visigothic typeface, with 79 miniatures, was already in its present location by the middle of the 12th century. From a stylistic viewpoint it is the most schematic of all Blessed of the 10th century.


San Pedro de Cardeña? - 1220 - Biblioteca Morgan, N. York

Its origin is unknown except it was commissioned by a lady, possibly for the Monastery of Las Huelgas and there is no doubt that it was copied from the Blessed of Tábara since, besides other coincidences, it is the only case with the image of Emeterio with the tower of Tábara. It is the largest blessed with 520 x 364 mm and consists of 187 pages and 116 miniatures, from a quarter to a double page that, respecting the iconographic structure of the original, show a naturalist style very close to the first Gothic miniature.


San Mamede de Lorvao monastery - 1189 - Torre del Tombo, Lisboa

Based largely in the considered as pictorial version I, it is the most completely preseved in this version. It is one of the latest blessed, most of them created in Cistercian monasteries, in this case, in St. Mamed of Lorvao’s, near Coimbra. The style of its miniatures, though clearly Romanesque, is not comparable to any other Spanish High Medieval codex. Simple pen and ink drawings on red and light yellow backgrounds, with very stylized and schematic figures standing out its essential lines.


Monastery of San Pedro de Cardeña? - 1189 - John Rylands Library,. Manchester

It consists of 510 pages of 442 x 313 mm, written in late Caroline pre Gothic typeface; it contains 123 full page beautiful miniatures illuminated with gold and silver. It is the only blessed that has reached us undamaged. Although it is of Romanesque style of the last period, with images of great quality, it maintains multiple horseshoe arches. For the ressemblance of its figures it is considered from the same series as the Blessed of St. Pedro de Cardeña, wth origin in Tabara’s, all three assigned to what is considered as family IIb.


Unknown - Finales del siglo XII - Biblioteca Nacional, París

It is one of the last known blessed, with fully Romanesque miniatures and Caroline typeface in transition to Gothic. It seems it had been created for a church in Astorga, according to an indication on its world map. It is known that it stood in the Cathedral of Pamplona in 1665 and that it reached the National Library of France after moving hands among several owners. It is a very interesting codex, not only for its quality but also because it respects the structure of the original blessed from the 8th century from a very different viewpoint.


Abbey of Saint Sever - Sobre el año 1050 - Biblioteca Nacional, París

It is the only copy of the Comments on the Apocalypsis of the Blessed of Liébana developed out of Spain, although for the scribe’s name, “Esteban García”, it can be affirmed that he was a Spanish monk. Made by a commission from the abbot of the Monastery of Saint-Sever, Grégoire de Muntaner, it consists of 292 pages of 365 x 280 mm with 108 miniatures, 84 of them recounted. Although it structure and the themes of its images adjust themselves to the version I of the Blessed, from 776, its artistic style is already quite different, totally Romanesque.


San Pedro de Cardeña? - 1220 - Bibliothèque Nationale, París

Embedded in the family IIb, although in some points it seems to use a model from family I, consists of 334 pages of 300 x 457 mm, with 69 miniatures decorated in gold and silver. It corresponds to another blessed of the last phase commissioned by a Cistercian monastery, in this case feminine. Although it respects the structure of the traditional blessed, the artist includes several distinctive features, like the personalisation of the face and the apparel of each of the the figures in the miniatures with several characters, different to the usual practice of former models.


San Pedro de Cardeña - 1175/1185 - Museo Arq. Nacional, Madrid

It consists of 152 folios of 305 X 190mm, which are currently distributed in several places, most of them in the Archaeological Museum of Madrid. It includes 51 miniatures in which two different masters worked, both of great quality. His images are of great color, based on red, blue, green and gold plates, most inspired by the Blessed of Girona. Like Beato and Tábara among others, it follows the tradition of the version Iib, although it is a work of the last phase of the Romanesque miniature and already announces the Gothic.

Beato de Silos

Monastery of Silos - 1109 - The British Library, Londres

The monastery of Silos that in spite of its scriptorium had not produced any copy of the Blessed of Liébana’s Comments on the Apocalypsis along the 10th century, created this copy, finished in 1109, already in the midst of the Romanesque period. This codex, one of the most complete and best preserved, consists of 560 pages of 380 x 250 mm and 106 colourful miniatures, in an already Romanesque style, although continuing respresenting the arches in horseshoe shape.


Mozarabic Monastery Leon - 970? - Archivo Histórico Nacional, Madrid

It is a 168 page codex of which only 10 miniatures out of 100 have been preserved, and four pages with genealogies. It includes the two last pages of another Blessed that was started by Magius and finished by Emeterio after his death with the help of the nun Ende, in the monastery of Tábara , for what the whole set receives the name by extension. The last page includes a miniature by Emeterio that we use as our anagram, where a part of the tower of the monastery may be appreciated and its monastery with several monks working.

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