Bible moralisée of Naples

Français 9561 - Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)

Alternate Titles:

Biblia de Nápoles, Bible moralisée aus Neapel, Bibbia Moralizzata di Napoli, Bible moralisée de Naples, Bíblia moralizada de Nápoles

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Alternate Titles

Biblia de Nápoles
Bible moralisée aus Neapel
Bibbia Moralizzata di Napoli
Bible moralisée de Naples
Bíblia moralizada de Nápoles

Extent / Format

384 pages / 31.0 x 21.0 cm


Robert of Anjou (the Wise), King of Naples (1278 -1343)


204 illuminations with gold

Short description

The Bible Moralisée of Naples originates from between 1340 and 1350 and was commissioned by Robert of Anjou. The work served as a template for many further books of this type. It contains 204 artistic illustrations, which visually depict selected stories from the New and Old Testaments. The depictions of scenes from the New Testament are especially impressive and valuable.

Facsimile editions available


Bible Moralisée of Naples

The term bible moralisée indicates a type of very splendidly illuminated Gothic manuscript. In this work, the illustrations from the Bible were confronted respectively with typologically “moralized” (meaning interpreted) images. This type of book originates from the French court ca. 1220/30. An astoundingly artistic bible moralisée originates from Naples between 1340 and 1350. The codex contains 204 elaborately designed miniatures, which are richly embellished with gold.

A Trademark of the French Sovereign

The bible moralisée was commissioned by Robert the Wise of the House of Anjou, King of Naples. With this book type, which had its roots in France, the sovereign wanted to remind himself of his French heritage. Numerous French rulers had bibles made for them according to this template. The illuminated manuscript was decorated by a highly talented master, who collaborated with the famous Italian painter and sculptor Giotto di Bondone.

New Stylistic Impulses

The text of the bible moralisée, like other codices of this type, contains selected biblical passages from the Old and New Testaments. Even so, the illuminator carried out modifications from earlier examples in the design of the work. The first 128 miniatures consist of full-page illustrations, which are divided into two scenes. The upper depiction always shows a biblical passage, while the lower scene interprets this biblical passage. Every one of these artistically valuable miniatures is framed by colorful bordures patterned with plant tendrils. Following this picture cycle are 76 astonishing paintings, which show scenes from the New Testament. Each one of these images has a costly gold background and are strongly reminiscent of the paintings of the great masters of the Italian Renaissance. The significance of this second picture cycle is especially emphasized by art historians. Altogether, the bible moralisée from Naples represents a masterpiece of medieval book art.

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