Manuscript of the Apocalypse

ca. 1330
Made in Normandy, France
Paint, gold, silver and brown ink on parchment
Each page: 12 1/8 x 9 in. (30.8 x 22.9 cm)
Manuscripts and Illuminations
Credit Line:
The Cloisters Collection, 1968
Accession Number:
  • Description

    The Apocalypse, or the Revelation to St. John, is the last of the canonical books of the New Testament. It was written on the Greek island of Patmos toward the end of the 1st century by an unknown author. In the Western church some scholars have thought him to be St. John the Evangelist, while others have argued for St. John the Baptist; in the Eastern church he is called St. John the Divine or St. John the Theologian. The opening chapters contain divine admonitions to the seven churches of Asia Minor. The following chapters detail a series of extraordinary visions and prophecies of events to come in the Church of Christ, particularly toward the end of the world in the time of the Antichrist. The many striking images, such as the "sea of glass mingled with fire" and the New Jerusalem with twelve foundations of precious stone, provided medieval illuminators with rich and highly popular subjects. This manuscript was probably produced in or near Coutances, and it is closely related to two other Apocalypse manuscripts also made in Northern France and based on a common model. The Cloisters Apocalypse is the only one, however, that begins with a preliminary cycle of scenes from the youth of Christ.

  • Provenance

    Robert Pecham d. 1569 , Biddlesden ; Thomas Darellus , Douay and Agen ; Antoine de Lescazes d.1630 , Agen (in 1600) ; Etienne Cauvy , Bordeaux (by 1728, from travelling merchant) ; Dr. M. Rey , Bordeaux (in 1835, acquired as gift from nun) ; Baron Edmond James Rothschild , Paris (from 1920–d.1936) ; Alexandrine de Rothschild , Paris (by descent, from 1936–sold 1967-68) ; [ H. P. Kraus ]

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History