Monday, February 27, 2017

Illuminated Manuscripts + early paintings of Saint Mark, the founder of Christianity in Egypt

St Mark The Evangelist (John Mark)  Book of the Gospel of Archbishop Ebbo of Reims. (c. 815-835)

John Mark is named in the Acts of the Apostles as an assistant accompanying Paul and Barnabas on their missionary journeys. Traditionally he is regarded as identical with Mark the Evangelist. Strictly speaking, the Gospel of Mark is anonymous. 

Rossano Gopels St Mark The Evangelist (John Mark)  Early Christian 6C vellum codex. Rossano, Italy Cathedral Treasury, folio 121r

Although, Papias (the bishop of Hierapolis A.D. 140) wrote in his last work (Exegesis of the Lord’s Oracles) the strongest evidence for Marcan authorship tied to Peter: "The Elder said this also: Mark, who became Peter’s interpreter, wrote accurately, though not in order, all that he remembered of the things said or done by the Lord. For he had neither heard the Lord nor been one of his followers, but afterwards, as I said, he had followed Peter, who used to compose his discourses with a view to the needs of his hearers, but not as though he were drawing up a connected account of the Lord’s sayings. So Mark made no mistake in thus recording some things just as he remembered them. For he was careful of this one thing, to omit none of the things he had heard and to make no untrue statements therein."  


St Mark The Evangelist (John Mark) and his lion from the Ada manuscript Gospel Book of the Court school of Charlemagne, c. 810; in the Stadtbibliothek, Trier, Germany

In addition, The Anti-Marcionite Prologue to Mark (A.D. 160-180) mentions Mark as the Gospel writer and connects him with Peter: “...Mark declared, who is called ‘stumb-fingered’ because he had short fingers in comparison with the size of the rest of his body. He was Peter’s interpreter. After the death of Peter himself he wrote down this same gospel in the regions of Italy.”

IV St Mark The Evangelist (John Mark) Evangelia Einsiedeln, Stiftsbibliothek, Codex 17(405), p. 126St Mark 10C St. Gallen, Switzerland

John-Mark is mentioned in the Bible:
-He was a Jewish Christian whose mother, Mary, owned a home in Jerusalem where the early church met (Acts 12:12)
-He was a cousin of Barnabas (Col. 4:10)
-He was added to Paul & Barnabas’ party, when they visited Jerusalem for the famine relief (Acts 12:25)
-He went with Barnabas & Saul (Paul) on the 1st missionary journey, but turned back to Jerusalem, when they went inland to Asia at Perga in Pamphylia (Acts 13:5,13)
-On the 2nd missionary journey Barnabas wanted to take John-Mark along, but Paul refused because of his earlier defection, so Barnabas took Mark to Cyprus (Acts 15:36-41)
-Mark was with Paul during his imprisonment in Rome & served as his delegate in Asia Minor (Philemon 24; Col. 4:10)
-Paul instructed Timothy to send Mark to Rome to be with him during his final imprisonment, because he was useful to him for service (2 Tim. 4:11)
-When 1 Peter was written, Mark was with Peter in Rome & regarded as Peter’s spiritual son (1 Peter 5:13)


Saint Mark, from the Harley Golden Gospels, ca. 800-825 (British Library, British Museum, London)

Biblical scholars note that in AD 49, about 19 years after the Ascension of Jesus, Mark The Evangelist (John Mark) traveled to Alexandria [(Acts 15:36–41) & founded the Church of Alexandria, which today is part of the Coptic Orthodox Church. Aspects of the Coptic liturgy can be traced back to Mark The Evangelist  (John Mark) himself.  He became the 1st bishop of Alexandria; & he is honored as the founder of Christianity in Africa.  If St. Mark The Evangelist (John Mark) was from ancient Cyrene, as a Coptic biography (The Beholder of God) asserts, he hailed from what today is known as Libya, as Cyrene was a city in the Pentapolis of North Africa (now Libya).


St Mark The Evangelist (John Mark) The Gospel of Trebizond. Greece (c. 900)

However, a recent biography by the Coptic pope Shenouda III using additional primary sources is not very well known.  Some sources in the biography appear to date back to the 11C. Alexandria was one of the original 3 main episcopal sees of Christianity.  In Christianity, an apostolic see is any episcopal see whose foundation is attributed to one or more of the apostles of Jesus.


Tzanes Emmanuel. St Mark The Evangelist (John Mark) Greece, Venice (c. 1657)

Tradition adds that Saint Mark returned to the Pentapolis of North Africa later in life.  When Mark The Evangelist (John Mark) returned to Alexandria, the pagans of the city resented his efforts to turn the Alexandrians away from the worship of their traditional gods. In AD 68, they placed a rope around his neck & dragged him through the streets, until he was dead.  If the apostle Mark The Evangelist (John Mark) was a Cyrenean, then Jesus selected an African as a member of his inner circle & to share the gospel as an evangelist.


1524 St Mark The Evangelist (John Mark) with his lion and a quill. It is from an illuminated manuscript of the Renaissance. Library of Congress


Andrea Mantegna, (1431-1506) St Mark The Evangelist (John Mark) 


St Mark The Evangelist (John Mark) Byzantine Psalter 13C. Illuminated Manuscript Victoria & Albert Museum, London, England


St Mark The Evangelist (John Mark) Gospels from Mainz. Now in the Koninklijke Bibliotheek in The Hague (The National Library of the Netherlands).


Icon of St Mark The Evangelist (John Mark) in Albanian National Archive 10


Lichfield Gospels - Portrait of St Mark The Evangelist (John Mark) 


 St Mark The Evangelist (John Mark) Writing Unknown artist


St Mark The Evangelist (John Mark) sharpening his pen Gospel printed in Constantinople, c 1325-45. Getty Museum


St Mark The Evangelist (John Mark) writing the Gospel London Rothschild Hours' ('Hours of Joanna I of Castile), Ghent c. 1500


 St Mark The Evangelist (John Mark) 12C Manuscript


St Mark The Evangelist (John Mark) 13C Armenian Miniature Illustration


St Mark The Evangelist (John Mark) and his lion at the beginning of the Gospel excerpts, Add MS 34294, f. 10v Sforza Hours British Library c 1490


St Mark The Evangelist (John Mark)  folio 110v Greek Gospels Southern Italy-Sicily mid-late 12C Sp Coll MS Hunter 475 (V.7.2) Glasgow University Library Detail


St Mark The Evangelist (John Mark) Greek Icon


St Mark The Evangelist (John Mark) Orthodox icon


St Mark The Evangelist (John Mark) and his lion The four gospels in Arabic Cairo, Egypt 18C


 St Mark The Evangelist (John Mark) with Lion Book of Hours


St Mark The Evangelist (John Mark) with Lion Gospels from Mainz. Now in the Koninklijke Bibliotheek in The Hague (The National Library of the Netherlands).


St Mark The Evangelist (John Mark) folio 110v Greek Gospels Southern Italy-Sicily mid-late 12C Sp Coll MS Hunter 475 (V.7.2) Glasgow University Library


St Mark The Evangelist (John Mark) and his lion The Gospels of St. Medard de Soissons (Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, MS lat. 8850)


St Mark The Evangelist (John Mark) from 14C Illuminated Manuscript, Byzantine Model

 St Mark The Evangelist (John Mark) with Lion


The Martyrdom of St Mark The Evangelist (John Mark)  from the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, a priceless 15C French

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Illuminated Manuscripts - Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John writing the Gospels, Germany c 875

Illuminated Manuscript, Gospels of Freising, Evangelist Portrait of Matthew, Walters Art Museum Ms. W.4, fol. 33v Freising, Germany c 875.

A gospel is an account describing the life of Jesus of Nazareth. The most widely-known gospels are Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John.  Some Christians use the term "gospel," otherwise known as the "good news," in reference to the general message of the biblical New Testament.  Here Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John are portrayed with a few of their fierce friends writing about the life of Jesus.

Illuminated Manuscript, Gospels of Freising, Evangelist Portrait of Mark, Walters Art Museum Ms. W.4, fol. 90v Freising, Germany c 875.


Illuminated Manuscript, Gospels of Freising, Evangelist Portrait of Luke, Walters Art Museum Ms. W.4, fol. 126v Freising, Germany c 875.


Illuminated Manuscript, Gospels of Freising, Evangelist Portrait of John, Walters Art Museum Ms. W.4, fol. 178v Freising, Germany c 875.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Illuminated Manuscripts - Scribes, Authors, & Bookmaking

Parchment Sellers scrubbing & stretching the parchment 15th century Bologna, University Library. Cod. Bonon. 963, f. 4.

Manuscripts were hand-written & illustrated during the medieval era (A.D. 500-1500), before the invention of printing presses.  They were time-consuming &  expensive to make, however the method was quicker & much more portable than carving language symbols in stone or wood.


Scribe buying parchment Copenhagen, Royal Library. Ms. 4, 2o f. 183v.

Manuscripts were usually written parchment or vellum made from the skins of sheep, calves, or goats. Parchment & vellum are terms often used interchangeably, although sometimes vellum refers to a finer quality of writing material.  Parchment was eventually replaced by paper. Some manuscripts were actually written on paper made from linen rags. Often lines were ruled on the pages of manuscripts to guide the script writer.


Colegio Santa Catalina de Bolonia 

Some manuscripts were written on papyrus, a fragile Egyptian reed material, which continued to be used for manuscripts until the 7-8th-centuries. Papyrus plantations came to Sicily during the papacy of Gregory I (590-604) & papyrus was used for papal correspondence until the 11th century.


St Matthew ruling parchment 12th cent Dinant Gospels Manchester, John Rylands University Library. Rylands Latin Ms. 11, f. 14.

In the Early Middle Ages, the majority of manuscripts produced served as the liturgical books used by priests & monks in churches & monasteries.


St Mark sharpening his quill in French Renaissance Book of Hours as a scribe Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury, The National Trust. Ms 20, f. 13v.

As the church expanded & new monesteries were built, more liturgical books were needed. At new venues, the abbot or the monks initially came from an already established monastic community, which provided the most urgent books for the new site.  Immediately the monks began to copy necessary books for themselves.


St Paul sharpens his quill, assistant rubs parchment with pumice stone  Colegio Santa Catalina de Bolonia

Medieval copyist monks, often called scribes, were responsible for copying the works of authors by hand.


Jean Miélot, also Jehan, (d. 1472) scribe for Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy from 1449-1467. Paris,  Bibliothèque nationale de France Ms. Fr. 9198, f. 19.

As early as the 1100s, books began to be produced for wealthy individuals as well as religious institutions. There began to be a gowing secular reading public demanding an increase in manuscript production.


Detail from the Codex Caesareus Upsaliensis Emperor's Bible Matthew Uppsala University Library (c 93)

Because manuscripts were very expensive to make, they often served as status symbols. Most families who owned manuscripts held privileged positions in society.


Initial letter G, from a manuscript produced in northern Italy during the early 1400s.

The major themes of manuscripts became more diversified as the secular readership grew and included the traditional religious (particularly Christianity) books plus new art subjects such as courtly activities, the hunt, gardening, & literarature.


 Bardzo sprytny mebel. Gabriel Mälesskircher - św. Mateusz - 1478


 Bookbinder. Landauer Twelve Brothers House manuscript 1400s


Eadwine the Scribe at Work. circa 1160-70. Eadwine Psalter. Christ Church. Canterbury (England) UK.


 Evangeliarum 1150-1200 Manuscript Koninklijke Bibliotheek, The Hague


 Hague mmw 10 a 15


 Le copiste-enlumineur Giovanni Colonna, Mare historiarum, ouest de la France (Angers ), milieu XVe siècle


 St. John the Evangelist with his eagle. Gabriel Mälesskircher


St. Mark with his lion. Gabriel Mälesskircher


Scribe Jean Jean Miélot, 1400s, Brussels Royal Library, MS 9278, fol. 10r


St. John (depicted as a scribe) from Bodleian Library MS Auct. D. 1.17


Laurence before 1149 as a scribe Durham, University Library. Ms. Cosin V. III. 1. f. 22v.


Josephus and Scribe Samuel Canterbury 1130 Cambridge, St, John’s College. Ms. A. 8, fol. 103v.


St John with a few helpers recording Book of Revelation Book of Hours c 1480


Domenico Ghirlandaio Portrait of St Jerome writing in his Study from 1480


Geofroy Tory (1480-1533) Scribe with a little divine guidance Book of Hours, Ms. Library of Congress. Rosenwald ms. 10 (1533)


Apparently harried scribe writing & holding ink St. Matthew, from the Gospel Book of Archbishop Ebbo of Reims, Hautvilliers near Reims, c. 816 - 35. Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris.


This scribe appears to have very little power. Augustine De Civitate Dei 1100s Apprentice Everwinus + Master Hildebertus Prague, The Metropolitan Chapter Library. Ms. A XXI-1. f. 153v.


Organized scribe Ezra rewriting the Sacred Records with storage cabinet, from the Codex Amiatinus, Jarrow, early eighth century. Biblioteca Medicea-Laurenziana, Florence.


A leaf from the Skevra Evangeliary (Lviv Evangeliary)  1198


A leaf from the Skevra Evangeliary (Lviv Evangeliary)  1198


A scribe writing the Gospels of Kildare. The British Library


A scribe writing. The British Library


 Bibliothèque nationale de France, Dossier pédagogique - Jean Fouquet


British Library


British Library Netherlands Manuscript 1479


British Library


Christine de Pizan at work guarded by Justice with her Sword and Sheild 15C


Christine de Pizan, 1st woman in western literature known to make a living from her work, writing a book.


Codex Manesse Schulmeister


Gallica  Bibliothèque nationale de France, Jacques de Voragine , Légende dorée, 15e siècle


Illuminated manuscript in the Musée Marmottan's


Mark the Evangelist Artist - Grigor Tatevatsi, 1378 Gospel, 1297


Siena, Biblioteca Communale degli Intronati, I.V.25-26, 1399


St. Dunstan Writing, Extracted From A Commentary On The Rule Of St. Benedict 1170


St. John writing at desk. MS. Laud Lat. 9, France, Ca. 1220-1230.


St. Matthew. Image from the Lindisfarne Gospels. The British Library