University of Arizona

Wenzeslas Bible

The Triumph and Glory of Late Medieval Book Production. Art, Religion, and Literature in One Manuscript

Die Wenzelsbibel, 1390, Vol. 8

While the German King Wenceslaus (1361-1419) experienced a very troubled reign (1376-1400), he worked hard throughout his life to gain highest respect as a patron of the arts. He was an avid collector of most sumptuous manuscripts and competed in this regard with contemporary French dukes. One of the most glorious illustrated bibles ever created in the Middle Ages was the one produced for him, sometime between 1390 and 1400. While the biblical text imposed rather rigid limits on the thematic range of those illustrations, the artists delved into a wide range of options available to them to reflect on everyday life. This Wenceslaus Bible demonstrates what some scholars have called 'the glorious Middle Ages.' There is nothing of the 'dark Middle Ages' to be seen here.

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