Das Perikopenbuch von St. Peter
- Publisher / Year
- Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Graz, 2015/2016
- Limited edition:
Clm 15903 - Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Perikopenbuch von St. Peter
Perikopenbuch aus St. Erentrud in Salzburg
Evangelia in missa legi solita, praecedente capitulari evangeliorum
212 pages / 31.0 x 22.0 cm
55 miniature paintings (33 of which full-page compositions), 6 pages with a listing of the 71 pericope sections, 1 full-page initial, 81 anthropomorphic and scrollwork initials. The illumination is painted in body colours and silver on a golden ground. Sc
Benedictine convent of Saint Erentrud (Nonnberg)
The St. Peter Pericopes is one of the finest manuscripts in the collections of the Bavarian State Library in Munich. The mid-12th century Romanesque manuscript exhibits a connection of Byzantine principles of style with visual themes from western examples and its figures posses a certain plasticity thanks to the color-shading techniques employed. Its 55 colors miniatures with gold backgrounds are both quantitatively and qualitatively the peer of any other. Another way that the St. Peter Pericopes distinguishes itself is with its fantastical initial embellishment. Of the three scriptoria that were active in Salzburg in the mid-12th century (the cathedral scriptorium, the scriptorium of the Petersfrauen, and that of St. Peter), only one can be considered the place of origin for reasons of style, iconography, and content – the scriptorium of St. Peter.
55 colorful miniatures on a gold background – and the richest image program of a high medieval evangeliary manuscript to boot – as well as 81 mostly anthropomorphic gold initials with bright flowers and tendrils: so reads the fact sheet of the mid-12th century St. Peter Pericopes, which is stored under the shelf mark Clm 15903 in the Bavarian State Library in Munich. A pictorial and decorative program that is both quantitatively and qualitatively the peer of any other reveals itself to the beholder across 106 folios of the St. Peter Pericopes. Of the miniatures that are arranged before the readings for the Christmas and Easter cycles, the miracles and resurrection of Christ, and the feast days for the Virgin Mary and saints, as well as the Feast of the Finding and Veneration of the Cross, well over half are full-page. Broad, rectangular frames with ornamented fillings between strips of gold and silver trim the biblical scenes like panel paintings. Precious gold leaf makes up the backgrounds of these large-figured scenes, which are executed in powerful, off-color opaque paints. Individual architectural elements and indications of landscapes help to locate the events. Dignified figures dominate the symmetrical image composition. Lifelike mimicry and glances with big eyes connect them with one another and thus simultaneously convey the content of the image and its emotional expression. The close relationship of our manuscript to the older works from the scriptorium of St. Peter is manifest in the connection of Byzantine principles of style with visual themes from western examples and the practice of plastically modelling the bodies of the figures with the help of color shading.
Another way that the St. Peter Pericopes distinguishes itself is with its fantastical initial embellishment. An initial stands at the beginning of each pericope – either as an individual letter, or often as a part of a group of initials forming a connection between both of the initial letters and the actual text of the pericope. The gilded corpus of each letter is wrapped with vines, whose offshoots end in bright buds and blooms. Individual parts of the letters are replaced in countless variations by living creatures – mostly animals – that lend the manuscript a sanguine note.
Pericope books contain every selection (pericope) from the Gospels that is chosen as a reading for the individual Sundays and feast days of the liturgical year. Of the 71 pericopes in this manuscript, no less than 55 are introduced by miniatures. Their function is not limited to illustrating the relevant text, instead they visually reiterate it. What is more, the narrative horizon is additionally broadened and interpreted with the help of iconographic devices. An example thereof is the miniature of Jesus among the scholars, in which the 12 year old boy is depicted as a grown, bearded man. This device helps to overcome the time continuum as well as foreshadowing the role of Christ as the Messiah. Such surprising pictorial solutions appear throughout the entire manuscript. They serve the overall textual concept, in which Christ is presented as the Annointed, the Savior – the Messiah.
Widely referred to in scholarly literature by the name Book of Pericopes from St. Erentrud, the codex’s name comes from the Benedictine convent on Salzburg’s Nonnberg. A note from the late 13th or early 14th century on folio 104v in the manuscript verifies that the codex belonged to the convent’s collection by that time at the latest. Yet, St. Erentrud is neither the place of origin nor the destination of the pericope book. The Salzburgian provenance of the manuscript is uncontested. Not only is this indicated by the content, such as repeated references to St. Rupert, who not only founded the bishopric of Salzburg and was its first bishop, but is also venerated as the founder of the Benedictine monasteries of St. Peter and St. Erentrud. The close artistic affinity to codices originating undoubtedly from Salzburg indicates that the pericope book came from a local scriptorium. Of the three scriptoria that were active in Salzburg in the mid-12th century (the cathedral scriptorium, the scriptorium of the Petersfrauen, and that of St. Peter), only one can be considered the place of origin for reasons of style, iconography, and content – the scriptorium of St. Peter.