Who would have thought that the topic of the apocalypse is more up-to-date and contemporary than ever before? Therefore we are even happier to present the release of our latest facsimile edition, which is available since this month.
The Berry Apocalypse
(New York, Morgan Library & Museum, MS M. 133)
This book is one of the most fascinating manuscripts of the 15th century. It was written around 1410 in Paris by an unknown master. The commissioner was the Duke of Berry (1340-1416), known as one of the greatest art patrons and bibliophiles of the late Middle Ages.
… and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: “Write on a scroll what you see” …
The words of the Secret Revelation of John have always possessed a special charisma and fascination. The last book of the New Testament was deeply rooted in the thinking of medieval society. Therefore this common subject forms part of incredibly rich pictorial realizations.
Consolation and Hope
At the same time, the Secret Revelation is to be understood as a consolation and perseverance script. It could offer support and hope, especially in turbulent times. The Apocalypse is not a prophetic book. Anyhow this manuscript criticizes the present and conveys comforting images, but also reveals depictions of threats and warnings for the future.
Visionary Images of the Secret Revelation
Barely any other text of the New Testament symbolizes the divine mystery in a similar way. As soon as the Seventh Seal is opened, its content is transformed into visionary images. These images tell us about the end of the Old World and the beginning of the New World. The content of the Apocalypse stimulated medieval artists to work with this text, full of images like no other, in a unique way. Many picture books were created, whose illustrations were much more than decorations added to the text. One of the most extraordinary examples of these picture books based on the text of the Secret Revelation is the Berry Apocalypse.
If you want to know more about our facsimile edition, just have a look on our product site: The Berry Apocalypse as a true-to-original facsimile edition.
Apocalypse: from the Greek (apokálypsis - "unveiling", translated in Christianity as "revelation"). In the context of the Bible, the "Apocalypse" refers to the "Revelation of John" - the last book of the New Testament, and means that the course of the world and the end of the world are revealed.
Tradition meets Technology
We offer for the first time ever new dimensions in the medieval book art. With our brand-new app Living Manuscripts you are able to bring folio 37v (“Archangel Michael fighting against the dragon”) from the Berry Apocalypse to life. We invite you to discover the cosmos of medieval manuscripts in a completely new way. For more information about this project check our blog entry or visit our Living Manuscripts website.