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Illuminated Manuscripts
5.10 Olympiodoros' Protheoria (Commentary on the Book of Job)
12th-13th c.
Vatopedi Cod. 590
Parchment, 28.5 x 20.5 cm, ff. 168


The Original New Testament

This manuscript contains the text of Job and its commentary by Olympiodoros, a deacon of Alexandria. The single column text is written in minuscule script with titles inscribed in red. The manuscript is in good condition; its binding, of later date, is leather, with pressed ornaments on both back and front.

The text includes forty-two unframed miniatures, many of them in poor condition. Selected scenes from the trials of Job, as God tested his faith, are illustraed in a narrative way. Job kept the faith, and God rewarded him with double the possessions he had originally owned. The order of the miniatures follows the text.

A limited palette is employed, with bright red predominating. The technique is simplified, without any colour gradation, especially in the costumes, which are rendered only with lines and large areas of colour. The faces are portrayed with the same simple technique. The figures are rather squat, but lively and full of expression. The manuscript is interesting because it represents a provincial art that is aware of the achievements of its age, but lacks the prerequisites for the creation of a high quality work. The proportions of the figures and the rendering of the faces place the work between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

Bibliography: Eustratiadis - Arkadios 1924, p. 116. Papadaki-Oekland 1985-6, pp. 17-38. Huber 1986, pp. 242-9. Thesauroi 1991, pp. 249-51, figs. 29-46.

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