Apocalypse of 1313

Français 13096 - Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)

Alternate Titles:

Apocalipsis 1313, Apokalypse von 1313, Apocalisse 1313, L’Apocalypse en Français, Apocalipse 1313

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Alternate Titles

Apocalipsis 1313
Apokalypse von 1313
Apocalisse 1313
L’Apocalypse en Français
Apocalipse 1313

Extent / Format

334 pages / 22.0 x 15.5 cm

Artist / School

Colin Chadelve


162 miniatures (86 full-page illustrations) illuminated with gold

Short description

The Apocalypse of 1313 was made in Paris by the illuminator Colin Chadelves. The work contains a thrilling picture cycle of 162 large, miniatures adorned with gold. The images boast a unique mixture of various styles. They make the Apocalypse one of the most significant illuminated manuscripts of the early 14th century.

Facsimile editions available


Apocalypse of 1313

Numerous manuscripts about The Book of Revelation arose in the Middle Ages. This famous story from the New Testament is also called an Apocalypse. The Apocalypse of 1313 is an especially exciting version of that story. This manuscript is comprised of a picture cycle totaling 162 miniatures, which probably represent the most important and original illustration cycle of all the illuminated Apocalypses of the Middle Ages. It is the most famous work by the French illuminator Colin Chadelve.

A Royal Commissioner?

The outstanding manuscript was made by Colin Chadelve in 1313, probably produced at the behest of the French King Philipp the Fair. An apocalypse is mentioned in the will of his daughter Isabelle of France, which is probably the manuscript from 1313. The valuable depictions, which were endowed with opulent gold, indicate a wealthy benefactor at the very least.

A Unique Mix of Styles

The work’s various stylistic influences are particularly worthy of note, which characterize the illuminator. Chadelve’s miniatures sometimes focus on the pictures of the Liber Floridus, a medieval encyclopedia from Flanders. The style of the illuminated Apocalypse manuscript of Beatus also influenced the French artist in his work. The painter combined these traditional iconographies with his own creative ideas and in doing so created a truly unique work.

Masterful Illumination

The images of the Apocalypse show an astounding variety of details. The large, sometimes full-page miniatures in luminous colors were effectively contrasted with golden elements. The beholder is given a glimpse of the punishments that await the sinners in hell after the Day of Judgement. Chadelve depicts the most terrible torture methods. He shows sinners being skinned, cut in two, and dipped in boiling oil. The dramatic imagination of the artists was boundless. The fantastical depictions in thrilling colors and embellished with gold make the images of the Apocalypse unforgettable. The valuable original of the manuscript is found today in the French National Library in Paris.

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