Conferencistas · Ponentes confirmados
Peter K. Klein, University of Tübingen
The Circulation of Illustrated Apocalypse Manuscripts and Commentaries in Early and High Medieval Europe
As is well-known, manuscripts widely circulated in medieval Europe. But what about richly illustrated, costly manuscripts, did they circulate as much as other manuscripts and did their migration differ in time and space during the early and high medieval period? This question will be discussed by using the example of the illustrated Apocalypse manuscripts and commentaries. Apocalypse illustration had two starting points in Late Antiquity, one in Rome and the other in Visigothic Spain or North Africa: while these regions were the origin of an Apocalypse or Apocalypse commentary which in northern Spain in the 8th century served as a model for the illustration of the Beatus commentary on the Apocalypse, a Late Antique Roman Apocalypse cycle was the starting point of a long-lived Central-European tradition. The Beatus tradition, on the contrary, was much more restricted in time and space, especially when it was limited to the Kingdoms of Asturias and León-Castile in the first centuries. This changed, however, in the 11th and 12th centuries, when Leonese and perhaps Castilian Beatus manuscripts migrated to Catalonia, Portugal, southwest France as well as to Lombardy and Benevent in Italy. The Roman tradition of Apocalypse illustration too had a restricted dissemination during the first centuries, though at an early moment it had split into different branches. In the 7th and 8th centuries two Late Antique Roman Apocalypses migrated to northern Europe where they were copied in Northumbria respectively in northern France. Both had a succession in a number of Carolingian and Late Carolingian manuscripts from north-eastern France. Similar to the Beatus manuscripts, this initial regional restriction of the Central-European Apocalypse tradition changed in the 11th and 12th centuries when it spread all over Europe, from Catalonia to Germany, from England to Italy. Decisive for this enormous expansion of the Central-European Apocalypse tradition were probably two factors: the predomination of a Romanesque standard type of Apocalypse illustration and the international character of Romanesque art in general.