Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Diagram Illustrating the Christian Faith

A Diagram Illustrating the Christian Faith, in St. Anselm's 'Similitudes' And Other Works (1225)
Ink and pigments on vellum
Cotton MS Cleopatra C XI
Length: 19.9; Width: 13.5 cm
The British Library, London

The catalogue entry in The British Library says of the above:

“In [St Anselm`s] 'Similitudes', also called 'Human Morals', he compares virtues and vices.

Other texts in this volume include an account by Adam, monk of Eynsham, of a vision of purgatory and paradise experienced by his brother Edmund in 1196.

The illustrations are exceptional because they usually attempt to illustrate abstract ideas, often in pairs, such as health and sickness, or strength and weakness.

This manuscript belonged to the Cistercian Abbey of Dore, Herefordshire, by the 14th century, and it may have been written and illustrated there.

At the top of the diagram the Madonna and Child are enthroned between personifications of the Church and Synagogue; below are Christ blessing, Christ crucified, Christ carrying the Cross, and the Resurrection of Christ, and other figures.”