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Illuminated Manuscripts
5.28 The Four Gospels
Zographou Cod. 28M
Paper, 28 x 18.5 cm, ff. 317


The Original New Testament

This Slavonic manuscript contains the Four Gospels prefaced by the hypothesis and chapter titles and followed by the canon tables of Gospel lections for the whole year, the Menologion lections and the lections for Lauds. The script is minuscule in black ink, while red-gold ink is used for the titles and rubrics in the margins. The binding consists of two wooden boards covered in leather and decorated with pressed flora ornaments. In addition the front cover depicts the four Evangelists and the Crucifixion, and the back cover again the Evangelists, and the Anastasis. Notes in Slavonic, contemporary with the text or of later date, on folios 315v-317r, mention Ioannis Kratovski as the donor and the year the manuscript was written (1569).

In the manuscript each gospel is preceded by the picture of its author: the Evangelists Matthew (fol. 6r), Mark (fol. 89r), Luke (fol. 145r) and John (fol. 234r) are shown in rectangular headpieces above the beginning of their text. The floral decoration of these headpieces is less sophisticated than that in contemporary Greek manuscripts. The initials are in one or two colours. The figures of the Evangelists, shown sitting and writing or reading their gospels, are given an equally simply linear treatment. The lean, compressed figures, framed by buildings and enclosed in quatrefoils with a white background, betray limited artistic ability.

Bibliography: Ilinskij 1908 (1), p. 260. Huber 1969, p. 2. Boschkov 1974, p. 223. Miklas 1977, p. 69. Kontov - Rajkov - Kozuharov 1985, pp. 88-9. Thesauroi 1991, pp. 329-30, figs. 333-4.

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