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General description of the manuscripts


Ávila Cathedral - Finales del S. XII - Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid

With its 600 x 425mm and nearly 15 kg weight, it is the largest Bible ever to reach us. It consists of two perfectly differentiated parts, the first created in some monastery of the centre of Italy in the second half of the twelfth century. At the end of that century it reached Avila, where it was finished. The illustrations of this second phase are not of great quality but they have an enormous expressive force and great dynamism, with characters and compositions that reflect an enormous pathos, both in the expression of the faces and in the treatment of the figures.


San Pedro de Cardeña? - 1175 - Biblioteca Públca del Estado, Burgos

A completely Romanesque work although maintaining the Hispanic inspiration, this manuscript with its 404 pages in parchment that correspond to the New Testament, as the rest has been lost, is considered as one of the most beautiful codex from the Romanesque, specially emphasising its miniatures on the Adoration of the Kings and the Genesis. Its compositions include, with great harmony, figures of elongated canon with shorter ones, interspersing in many of them different episodes in the same page with great fluidity and aesthetics sense.

Biblia de Cardeña

San Pedro de Cardeña - 912? - Universidad Pontificia de San Jerónimo de Burgos

It has 397 pages, written to two columns of 52 lines drawn with stamp; the text filling some 335 x 105 mm. More than twenty pages have been lost and many preserved ones have been damaged. It contains the Old and New Testaments plus some appendix, among which the prologue of St. Isidore points out. The type setting is Visigothic in lower case of a very good quality, with the initials of every book always heavily decorated whereas the initials of the chapters are smaller and with less decoration.


Pamplona - 1200 - Bibl. Univ. de Augsburgo

It is a manuscript with very special characteristics that starting from a version of the original Vulgata, contains 976 pen and ink illustrations, watercolured, that fill half or full pages, to which a footnote with the texts in Gothic lower case typeface was added later. It includes the Old and New Testament as well as representations of numerous saints and an appendix with texts from the Apocryphal Gospels related to the second coming of Christ.


Monastery of Ripoll - 1015-1020 - Vatican Library

Also called the Farfa Bible because initially its origin was attributed to this monastery, there is currently no doubt that it was created in the Ripoll, as demonstrated by Pijoán and Neuss analyzing its similarities with the Roda Bible and with the doorway of the monastery of Ripoll. With a wide content, which in addition to the Old and New Testaments, includes a multitude of biblical texts, it is one of the codices of its time with a greater number of illustrations.


Monastery of Ripoll - 1010-1015 - Biblioteca Nacional, París

It is one of the three great bibles created in the monastery of Ripoll under the direction of the abbot Oliva, together with the one disapperared in a fire in 1835 and the Bible of Ripoll. The style developed in this monastery, although maintaining the spirit of all the Spanish High Medieval miniature, presents a broader Carolingian and Byzantine influx and a greater classicism. It consists of four volumes, the first two decorated with coloured images and the following two, only with lines in black and contains the most complete illustration known on the text of the prophets.


San Juan de la Peña - Siglo XI - Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid

It is considered as the oldest Aragonese biblical manuscript that has come to us. It is written in round Visigothic script and its miniatures show two very different types, the first still Mozarabic that contains the genealogies and the rest, possibly later, Romanesque style with initials and ornaments of great complication in which animals and floral decorations of French type are interspersed.

Biblia de San Millán

San Millén de la Cogolla - Sigl XIII - R. Ac. de la Historia, Madrid

Written at the beginnings of the 13th century, it is considered as the third phase of the scriptorium of St. Millán, and formed by two volumes; belongs to the Spanish, traditional, textual family, like the Bible of St. Isidore and its later Romanesque copy, maintaining in the first book the insertion of unframed drawings within the written columns although the style in the second volume is closer to that of the European books of that period and the illumination has been improved by adding more than sixty new miniatures.

Biblia de Tirreni

Reino de Asturias - 825 - Abadía de Cava dei Tirreni

Codex that is kept in the library of the Benedictine Abbey of Cava dei Tirreni, Salerno, Naples (Italy), where it was transferred at the beginning of the 12th century, without having moved from its library since. This is the miniature manuscript of a Bible according to the oldest surviving Latin Vulgate text made in Spain, written in the first half of the 9th century by a scribe named Danila in the Kingdom of Asturias for Alfonso II el Casto.

Biblia del Rey Sancho

Pamplona - 1197 - Bibl. d'Amiens Métropole

Commissioned by Sancho the Seventh, the Strong, and executed under the direction of Fernando Petri, canon of the cathedral of Calahorra, who became royal chancellor between 1192 and 1194, consists of 871 scenes from the Old and New Testament, lives of saints and the Apocalypsys of St. John. It is a vision of the biblical texts through images in which the texts are limited to just explain the illustrations. It is believed that three scribes and at least four painters were employed in accomplishing the work.


Scriptorium de Sevilla - Before 970 - Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid

Bible copied in the tenth century on a Sevillian desk, possibly the same that created San Leandro and San Isidoro more than two centuries before, in which the basic characteristics of Visigoth manuscripts are preserved, although some of the images and some uncial letters clearly reflect the influence of Cordoba art. It is also known as Codex Toletanus because it was discovered in the library of the Cathedral of Toledo.


Monasterio de Valeránica - 960 - San Isidoro de León

Also named “Codex Gothicus Legionensis”, this Bible, with its 561 pages and 300 miniatures, illuminated by Florencio, one of the great Mozarabics miniaturists, is considered as one of the most important ones in the Spanish miniature of the 10th century. It contains all the books of the Old and New Testaments, with prologues, comments and some other non biblical texts. It includes full colour miniatures with biblical histories, big initials, capitulars, etc.


Abellar Monastery - 920 - Catedral de León

Also known as Bible of Vimara, after its scribe. It was illuminated by the deacon John in the scriptorium of the monastery of Abellar, founded by Mozarabic monks for the abbot Mauro of St. Mary and St. Martin of Albares and finished in 920. It is the most ancient bible preserved and one of the most highly interested manuscripts that have reached us. The imagination of Juan de Albares and the schematic of its images calls the most attention, that seem to have inspired Picasso for his Guernica and in some other works of art of the same period.

Biblia segunda de San Isidoro

San Isidoro de León - 1162 - San Isidoro de León

Incomplete copy of the Leonese Bible of St. Isidore from 960, in three volumes, with 617 pages written in Caroline typeface and multiple miniatures. Its images stick to the structure of the original although updated to the customs of its period in apparel as well as in buildings and trousseaux. Among them we find the different styles, a primitive one, quite rude, and another one more depurated, with elongated more spiritual figures. The aesthetics in both cases is fully Romanesque, although without reaching the richness in colours nor the quality of the former version.

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