Friday, September 12, 2014

First crucifixion in illustrated manuscripts - the Rabbula Gospels

The earliest crucifixion in an illustrated manuscript
The Rabbula Gospels AD 586

The artist included into a single painting many themes from the Gospels descriptions of the events during the Good Friday.  In basic design and details of crucifixion he might well have been influenced by the wood carving in the door of Basilica Santa Sabina, Rome. 

Both Christ and Mary, Mother of Jesus, have the halo of saints. Christ has been dressed up very modestly into a long colored gown and He is shown larger than all the other persons in the painting. 

It has been suggested by a group of Florentine scholars that ultraviolet light reveals extensive later repainting over the original in order to standardize the presentation. 

The Rabbula Gospels
The Rabbula Gospels, or Rabula Gospels, (Florence, Biblioteca Mediceo Laurenziana, cod. Plut. I, 56) is a 6th-century illuminated Syriac Gospel Book. One of the finest Byzantine works produced in Asia, and one of the earliest Christian manuscripts with large miniatures, it is distinguished by the miniaturist's predilection for bright colours, movement, drama, and expressionism. Coming from a period from which little art survives, and which saw great development in Christian iconography, the manuscript has a significant place in art history, and is very often referred to.

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