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Athos Holy Mount

Illuminated Manuscripts
5.26 Four Gospels
14th c., 3rd quarter
Chelandari Cod. 13
Parchment, 29.5 x 22 cm, ff. 330

 

The Original New Testament

A sumptuous Slavonic codex, which, however, contains only four miniatures in the form of headpieces portraying the Evangelists Matthew (fol. 9r), Mark (fol. 98r), Luke (fol. 155r) and John with Prochoros (fol. 249r). In these representations the colour of the parchment itself serves as the background. The first three Evangelists are accompanied by a female figure, who, according to the relevant inscription, is Wisdom, and the fourth by Prochoros. Judging by the execution, particularly the rendering of the faces of the figures and the draperies, the painter was a highly skilled miniaturist. Apart from the large rectangular headpieces, in which the Evangelists are enclosed within three different types of frame (round, square and four-lobed), the manuscript also preserves a band-shaped headpiece at the beginning, as well as initials, which are equal in number to the headpieces. According to a note (cryptogram) set within a square, this is the Four Gospels of the Serbian Patriarch Sabas and can be dated to the period 1354-75. It contains the four Gospels in sequence written in red ink at the beginning, with the marginal rubrics in red-gold ink; they are preceded by a foreword by Theophylaktos, Archbishop of Bulgaria. Its binding consists of two wooden boards covered with a polychrome silk material, which is badly worn, while the spine is of leather. The codex is in good condition.

Bibliography: Brockhaus 1891, p. 234. Radojcic 1950, p. 31, pl. XII. Radojcic 1955 (1), pp. 167-8, 191, fig. 12. Djuric 1960, p. 344. Lazarev 1967, pp. 393, 432 n. 174. Radojcic 1969, p. 90, fig. 46. Harisiadis 1972, pp. 218-9, figs. 7-8. Thesauroi 1975, pp. 395-6, figs. 420-3. Bogdanovic 1978, p. 57, fig. 44. Galavaris 1995 (1), p. 102, fig. 15.

S.N.K.
Index of exhibits of Monastery of Chelandari
14th century


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