This giant Bible includes the entire text of the Old and New Testaments. Each biblical book opens with a large initial letter. These initials feature small white dog-like or leonine creatures enmeshed in a swirl of intertwining foliage. The work is in four volumes, and was made at the Cistercian abbey of St Mary of Foigny, in the north of France, which was one of the early daughter houses of Clairvaux established in 1121 by St Bernard (d. 1153).
The Abbey experienced rapid growth and prosperity, and assembled a rich library. A rare survival from that library, these volumes were acquired by Cardinal Richelieu (b. 1585, d. 1642), and then by the Sorbonne with the rest of the Cardinal’s library.
This manuscript was digitised with the support of The Polonsky Foundation.
- Article by:
- Charlotte Denoël
- Art and illumination, Making manuscripts, Christian religion and belief
Drawings and painted decoration in manuscripts ornamented the text as well as illustrated or commented on it. Charlotte Denoël outlines the history of manuscript art in early medieval France.