To: UI Special
To: Recent Acquisitions List
This magnificent Bible, in three volumes, was given to Alfonso X of Spain by Louis IX of France. It is being reproduced in facsimile by Moleiro Editor of Madrid. The University of Iowa has subscribed to the project, and volume I is now available for use in Special Collections.
"The biblical text, commentaries and iconography form a complete picture on each folio. Each page contains a rectangular space that is divided into four vertical columns of uneven width. Two columns contain text and two contain decorative illustrations. The columns with text are narrower than the decorative columns and are framed with a thin border. Each of the decorative columns contains four richly adorned medallions, totaling eight per page. Hence, in the three volumes, there are around 5,000 miniatures. The abbreviated biblical text is followed by a series of commentaries that include historical allusions, allegorical tales, moral assertions and mystical references. The Bible is famous primarily for its extravagant iconographic expression. Each medallion reproduces the corresponding scene described in the biblical text. The artists have employed a wide range of colors (blues, greens, reds, yellows, grays, oranges and sepia) over a polished gold background. The complete composition utilizes a plethora of highly expressive artistic and technical resources. Most of the medallions contain a unique scene though some are divided in half with a cloud, arch or straight line. The illustrators used the moralistic commentaries to include socially critical scenes from the point of view of the monastery. In this Bible, one can find representations of the world view of the first half of the thirteenth century: men, social groups, their vices and virtues, apparel, customs, beliefs, games and ideals. Life in the Middle Ages is revealed through the images presented in this Bible."
-- from the Moleiro prospectus