Saturday, 27 September 2014

More Initials from the Bible of Pedro of Pamplona

A year ago I wrote a blog post about cuttings from the Bible of Pedro of Pamplona, all but one of which I believed to be in institutional collections. In correspondence with Geneviève Marièthoz, who is actively working on the Bible, I subsequently learned that six more initials are in a private collection in France.

By pure luck I recently found reproductions of four more previously-unrecognised initials on two consecutive days. The first was in the collection of Adolf von Brekerath of Berlin, sold by Lepke in Berlin, 17–21 November 1916, lot 12:

The cutting includes the incipit "Et factum est", which means it could come from Joshua, Nehemiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, or 1 Maccabees [a list of the incipits of biblical book and the normal "Paris" prologues can be found on my website here], but the iconography suggests that it is the first of these with, in the upper half, God addressing Moses, and in the lower half, Moses addressing the Israelites.

I had been aware of the existence of the other three initials but had never seen them, having been interested in them since the late 1980s because they had been mistakenly attributed to W. de Brailes when they belonged to Joel and Maxine Spitz, of Glencoe, Illinois, in W.H. Bond by C.U. Faye, Supplement to the Census of Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts in the United States and Canada (New York, 1962), p.167:

I only realised their true identity when looking at the catalogue of the Kann collection (Amédée Boinet, La collection de miniatures de M. Édouard Kann (Paris, 1926), pl.IX):
The first cutting, beginning "Uocavit", can only be from Leviticus, and the second and third ones, both beginning "Hec sunt [verba]", must be from Deuteronomy and Exodus, as the Kann cataloguer realised:

The three initials have somewhat unusual iconography:
The way in which the artist has placed God and Moses within the initial, and the Israelites outside, seems to be inspired by the opening words: "And the Lord called Moses, and spoke to him from the tabernacle of the testimony, saying: Speak to the children of Israel ...".

Although slightly indistinct in the reproduction, the Kann cataloguer tells us that the main figure here is Moses, identifiable by his horns. The opening of the text is essentially a long list of the names of the children of Israel, depicted beside and below him: "These are the names of the children of Israel ... Ruben, Simeon, Levi, Juda ...".

Moses (here without horns) stands addressing a crowd of seated Israelites; below him is a vertical patterned band that is perhaps intended to represent the Jordan or the Red Sea: "These are the words which Moses spoke to all Israel beyond the Jordan, in the plain wilderness, over against the Red Sea ...".

One of the reasons why the discovery of new initials is important, is that the regional origin of the Bible is controversial, with some scholars believing it is from Castile, specifically Toledo, while others believe it is from Navarre. The determination of origin depends in part rests upon the iconography of the known initials: each newly discovered iconographic composition may lend weight to one opinion or the other.

If any reader know the present whereabouts of any of the above initials, I would be pleased to hear from them.

As the three cuttings in Philadelphia are unpublished, it may be as well to include them here:
Ruth (Lewis E M 43:2a Source)
Naomi with her two sons Mahlon and Kilion.
 Lewis E M 43:2b Source
The subject of this initial is currently unidentified on the Free Library website, but the text on the back:
includes part of Obadiah 1:12–13:
in die perditionis eorum et non mag
nificabis os tuum in die angustiae
neque ingredieris portam populi mei in
die ruinae eorum neque despicies et tu
in malis eius in die vastitatis illius 
and so the initial "U" is presumably the beginning of the book: "Uisio Abdie ..."; this fits with the iconography, as people experiencing visions are often depicted in bed, asleep or waking.
 Lewis E M 43:2c Source
The third initial is also unidentified; but the initial "O" must be from either of the Song of Songs, Nahum, or Malachi, and its text seems to end with words of Malachi 2:17:
[exercituum custodi]te spiritum vestrum
[et nolite des]picere laborare fecis[tis]
and thus is presumably the initial to Malachi: "Onus verbi domini ...".

The bibliography of the manuscript is very large; the selective list of works here gives some indication of the importance of the manuscript in the history of Spanish manuscript illumination.

The parent manuscript

Claudio Boutelou, ‘Estudio de la miniatura Española desde el siglo X al XIX’, part III, ‘Miniaturas de varios códices de la Bibliteca Colombina en Sevilla’, section A: ‘Biblia de Pedro de Pamplona y otras’, Boletin de laSociedad Española de excursiones, 14 (1906) pp.55–59 and 83–87. [Online here and here]

Jesús Domínguez Bordona, Manuscritos con Pinturas (2 vols, Madrid, 1933), II, no.1715 and figs.537–8.

Jesús Domínguez Bordona, ‘Miniatura’, in Ars Hispaniae: historia universal del art hispanico, 18 (Madrid, 1962), pp.17–242, at p.77 and fig.86. 

Ana Domínguez Rodríguez, ‘Notas sobre la Biblia de Pedro de Pamplona en la Catedral de Sevilla’, in Revisión del Arte Medieval en Euskal Herria, Cuadernos de Sección; Artes Plásticas y Monumentales, 15 (1996), pp.439–47. [Online]

María Mendigaña Urbina García, ‘Escenas ilustradas del Antiguo Testamento en la Biblia de Pedro de Pamplona’, in Revisión del Arte Medieval en Euskal Herria
Cuadernos de Sección. Artes Plásticas y Monumentales 15 (1996), pp.483–94. [Online]

Geneviève Mariéthoz, ‘Les Fragments retrouvés de la Bible de Séville’, in Cahiers archéologiques, 47 (1999), pp.159–76.

Antonio Claret García Martínez and Elena E. Rodríguez Díaz, ‘Un códice de la Biblioteca de Alfonso X en la Catedral de Sevilla: estudio codicológico y paleográfico de la Biblia de Pedro de Pamplona’, Sevilla 1248: Congreso Internacional Conmemorativo del 750 Aniversario de la Conquista de la Ciudad de Sevilla por Fernando 111, Rey de Castilla y León (Madrid, 2000), pp.919–29. [Online]

The thirteen cuttings in Amiens

Catalogue officiel illustré de l’Exposition rétrospective de l’art français des origines à 1800 (Paris, 1900) p.307 no.3383. Online

Gaston Migeon, ‘La Collection de M. Albert Maignan’, Les Arts, no.59 (Nov. 1906), p.10 and fig.30

Mariéthoz, 1999 (as above).

Geneviève Mariéthoz, in Jan Fabre: Illuminations, Enluminures (exhibition catalogue, Lille, 2013), no.3, p.193.

The three cuttings in Paris

On the losses of books and leaves from the Colombina Library in 1884 
Henry Harrisse, Grandeur et décadence de la Colombine; Seconde édition … augmentée (Paris, 1885). [Online]

H. Harrisse, Excerpta Colombiniana: bibliographie de quatre cents pièces gothiques françaises, italiennes & latines (Paris, 1887) pp.44-47.

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