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Bamberger Psalter, fol.116v-117r (Montage)

Staatsbibliothek Bamberg

Staatsbibliothek Bamberg
Bamberg, Germany

Historically, most depictions of the Feast of Pentecost until the 12 th century omit the Virgin
Mary, and instead place Peter – or occasionally Paul – in the center of the apostles. However,
this miniature includes Mary, placing her front and center in the middle of the circle of apostles. Her presence would become almost mandatory by the end of the Middle Ages, continuing to
remain so throughout the Renaissance and Baroque periods, sometimes even being singled out
for special veneration. However, neither tongues of flame or rays of light are detailed in the miniature, two other common motives of Pentecost in other Medieval examples.

The Second Coming of Christ and the Day of Last Judgement is depicted in this prophetic,
apocalyptic last miniature in the series of 15. It was most likely illustrated by two different
hands, the same used to create the miniature of King David. Christ sits high in the center of the miniature on a throne and spreads his hands out, holding a sword – a symbol of judgment – in his mouth; this motif comes from John’s vision of the Apocalypse. Two angels carrying Instruments of the Passion, that is the crown of thorns and the whips used to flagellate Christ on the way to Golgotha. Two groups of souls rise from the dead. Their progressive resurrection is depicted, with
two open sarcophagi with two naked, newly-risen souls climbing out at the very bottom of the
image, and the actual judgement happening right above. One group of saved souls on the left-
hand side of the miniature is led to Heaven by an angel pointing up to Christ’s throne. The other group of damned souls on the viewer’s right-hand side is forcibly herded by another angel brandishing a flaming sword towards the right frame, where a demon awaits them in the fiery pits of Hell already armed with a chain.

Details

  • Title: Bamberger Psalter, fol.116v-117r (Montage)
  • Medium: Pergament
  • Volume: 2 Blätter, je 25,5x18cm
  • Shelf mark: Msc.Bibl.48,fol.116v-117r, (Montage)
  • Photographer: Gerald Raab

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