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Illuminated Manuscripts
5.22 Four Gospels
14th c.
Koutloumousiou Cod. 283
Paper, 21.5 x 13.5 cm, ff. 257


The Original New Testament

This manuscript preserves portraits of three of the four Evangelists - Matthew (fol. 9v), Luke (fol. 124v) and John (fol. 199v) - while that of Mark is missing, together with a small section from the beginning of his Gospel (which begins at Mark 1:14). The Evangelists are portrayed seated on carved benches without cushions, two of them turning to the left and the other to the right. In addition, Matthew is accompanied by a figure infusing him with inspiration, while the other two Evangelists are depicted with a semicircle of heaven in the top left-hand corner (together, in John's case, with God's hand extended in blessing), emitting rays in their direction. The tension in the faces and movements of the figures, together with the somewhat ordinary colouring, indicate that this is a provincial manuscript of the fourteenth century. The beginning of each Gospel is also illuminated with a red headpiece comprising a variety of geometric and flora motifs. The codex contains the four Gospels in miniscule script. The binding is of wood covered with slightly worn brown leather decorated with geometric figures and impressions of a double-headed eagle within a small circle. The manuscript, which bears the date 1362 (fol. 254r), indicating that the codex was completed before this time, is in good condition.

Bibliography: Lambros 1895, p. 308. Thesauroi 1973, p. 460, figs. 345-7. Spatharakis 1981, p. 65, fig. 469. Mavropoulou-Tsioumi 1996, p. 215.

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14th century

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