University of Arizona

The Most Beautifully Illuminated Bible from the Middle Ages

Illustration [detail] from Biblia moralizada de los Limbourg

The University Libraries Special Collections hosts The Early Book Lectures Series IX, an annual lecture series where University of Arizona scholars explore the treasure trove of medieval texts held by the University Libraries. Professors from UA’s History, English and German Studies departments give their audiences new insights into 15th, 16th and 17th century historic texts.

In the final lecture of The Early Book Lectures Series Professor Classen explores the Biblia moralisee by the Limbourg Brothers.
 
The magic and beauty of medieval books, along with their often incredible illustration programs, find one of their best expressions in the Biblia moralisee by the Limbourg Brothers (ca. 1402). This bible continues to stun the modern reader and spectator. Both terms apply very well since this book served the religious inspiration and instruction through the reading of the biblical text and it also allowed the individual to study the text through the unparalleled rich visual program. Classen’s talk introduces one of the monumental bibliophile treasures held in Special Collections. The manuscript was one of the most glorious gems of medieval book production for royal patrons, but this is so much more than just a bible, or just a book. It is also one of the most stellar art works ever produced in the Middle Ages.

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