ArtworksClose1/8Vita ChristiNorthern England (York?), and East Anglia (Norfolk?), c. 1190-1200, and c. 1480-90This version of the 'Vita Christi' is one of the finest English illuminated manuscripts known to be in private hands and one of the most profusely illustrated English manuscripts in existence.3of 3One of the most profusely illustrated English manuscriptsOverview
This work has been sold.
This profusely illustrated manuscript of the Vita Christi was supplemented to become a rosary and devotional volume. The original cycle of romanesque illustrations had no text. In the late 15th century further pages were added and every available space was filled to form a devotional miscellany.
The 51 original miniatures, painted in England around 1190-1200, could either once have been prefatory to a Psalter or were intended as an independent picture book. When the manuscript was reassembled in the late 15th century, 57 further large miniatures were added. They follow an eschatological vision from the Creation to the end of the world. They include images of uncommon subjects, such as bundles of flowers with a sun and eagle, and the extremely important picture of St Robert of Bury. The inclusion of St Robert in the middle of a sequence of biblical narrative is intriguing, suggesting a high level of devotion to a local martyr. It is placed between the death of Herod and the Flight into Egypt, and therefore Robert becomes one of the Holy Innocents.
There are three hands in the 15th-century illumination. They must have collaborated, as their images do not appear separated from each other.
This work is now in the collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.