Leaves from a Beatus Manuscript, ca. 1180
Spanish (Burgos, Castile–León)
Tempera, gold, and ink on parchment, metal leaf; 17 1/2 x 11 13/16 in. (44.4 x 30 cm)
Purchase, The Cloisters Collection, Rogers and Harris Brisbane Dick Funds, and Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1991 (1991.232.1–.14)
Illustrating the compiled visionary texts in about 776 by the Asturian monk Beatus of Lièbana, a Beatus manuscript consists of passages from the Book of Revelation accompanied by interpretations cast as Christian allegories. These leaves comes from a Beatus manuscript disassembled in the 1870s. Other parts of the manuscript are divided among museums and libraries in Spain.
The manuscript is notable for its vibrant, dramatic color contrasts and the linear treatment of the figures and draperies. The illustrations, occasionally quite literal interpretations of the texts, partially reflect the earlier Mozarabic tradition of manuscript illumination. The banded backgrounds and certain architectural details also reflect this style.