MINIATURIST, French
(active around 870 in Reims)

Bible of San Paolo

870
Manuscript, 448 x 345 mm
San Paolo fuori le Mura, Rome

This codex of 334 folios contains the complete text if the Bible in Latin with 24 title miniatures, 4 canon tables, 35 decorative pages and 91 initials. It was commissioned by Emperor Charles I the Bald (reigned 840-877). The treatment of figures and the nature of the decoration can be traced to the important scriptorium of Archbishop Hincmar of Reims (845-882).

This manuscript from the late Carolingian era was restored and rebound in 1646 in the abbey of San Paolo in Rome.

The picture shows the title miniatures to the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy (folio 50v). The principal scene in the composition, at the centre, is the last address given by Moses. The people of Israel are grouped before their leader in a sweeping arc, in order to hear his last will and receive his blessing. Behind Moses stand the ancestors Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to whose descendants God had pledged the Promised Land.