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Athos Holy Mount

Illuminated Manuscripts
5.12 Four Gospels
12th c., 2nd half
Dionysiou Cod. 38
Parchment, 14 x 10 cm, ff. 384


The Original New Testament

This manuscript with the four Gospels contains full-page miniatures with the four portraits of the Evangelists: Matthew (fol. 21v), Mark (fol. 126v), Luke (fol. 194v) and John (fol. 304v), seated in different postures against a plain gold background. It is one of the most typical manuscripts of the period, in which the illumination is combined with the so-called 'dynamic' style of monumental painting, which expressed a high spirituality and led to the strong emotions and dramatic intensity of the art of the following centuries. The influence of the monumental painting of the late twelfth century is apparent in the 'manneristic' rendering of the draperies, which expresses both dynamism and inner restlessness. The codex also contains decorated full-page canon tables at the beginning and a rectangular headpiece with the corresponding initial letter at the head of each Gospel. It comprises the text of the four Gospels written in a reddish-brown miniscule script, with the titles and Eusebios's letter to Karpianos in red ink. The binding is of wood covered with a badly worn pink silk fabric. The codex is in good condition.

Bibliography: Lambros 1895, p. 321. Lazarev 1967, p. 252, n. 51. Thesauroi 1973, pp. 411-2, figs. 88-95. Galavaris 1995 (2), pp. 28, 248, fig. 164.

Index of exhibits of Monastery of Dionysiou
12th century

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