Sunday, July 17, 2011

Byzantine Manuscript Illumination

Frontispiece of the Bible of Leo, made in Constantantinople, c. 940, showing Leo presentinghis bible to the Virgin, who in turn gestures to the figure of Christ.Leo s beardless face and childish fair indicate that he was eunuch, a fact confirmed by the titles noted in the inscription beside him, patrikios ( of patrician status ), sakellarios ( treasurer ) and praipositos ( major domo of the place ).The inscription on the frame is an epigram Leo composed, which compares his humble pffering with that of monks who offer their souls to the Virgin.

Frontispiece of the Psalter of Basil II ( 976/1025), probaly painted in c.1000 in Constantinople.The emperor is shown blessed by God, crowned and armed by the archangels and surrounded by military saints.Below him, courtiers or defeated enemies fall prostrate at his feet.

John VI Kantakouzenos presiding at the Church Council of 1351 that condemned the anti-hesychast Writings of Barlaam of Calabria and others. He is surrounded by four bishops (Kallistos, Patriarch of Constantinople, Philotheos Kokkinos of Herakleia, Gregory of Palamas Thesslanikos and Arsenios of Kyzikos ) , monks, soldiers and courtiers.One of the rare pictures of Byzantine church councils.

From, Judith Herrin / Byzantium.

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