Shout out to all Carolingian art lovers! We have a little something for you, hot off the presses. We present to you the facsimile of the Cambrai Apocalypse: a 1100 years old manuscript which has survived time in remarkably good conditions.
Fellow manuscript lovers, major news for you, especially for those who just can’t get enough of Carolingian art. If you are into mysterious, obscure, and inscrutable representations of the coming of the Armageddon, well, the Cambrai Apocalypse is just what you need!
The Cambrai Apocalypse is one of only four Carolingian Apocalypses that survived time, and it is the most vividly and richly illuminated of them all.
The Cambrai Apocalypse, created between the late ninth- or early tenth-century, features a remarkable set of iconographic illustrations, indeed, out of 96 pages (approx. 31 x 23 cm), 46 show a full-page illustration rich in narrative elements, such as temples, city architecture, and stylized plants, for a total of 46 full-page, exceptionally well-preserved miniatures.
What is most striking is that the manuscript has survived eleven centuries with little to no damage and provides us with an invaluable glimpse into the imagery of Carolingian art, which includes human figures dressed in ancient fashion, or in typical Frankish dresses. The colors, too, are exceptionally preserved, giving the manuscript immense power in capturing the attention of the beholder. The overall painting style lends the miniatures dynamism and vitality.
As reviously mentioned, only four Apocalypse have come down to us and they can be separated in two groups: the earlier Trier (Trier, Stadtbibliothek, ms. 31) and Cambrai (Cambrai, Biblioteque Municipale, ms. 386) Apocalypses, and the slightly more refined Valenciennes (Valenciennes, Bibliotheque Municipale, ms. 99) and Paris (BnF, ms. noun acq. lat. 1132) Apocalypses.
Also, did you know that the Cambrai Apocalypse was probably the work of a provincial workshop in Northeastern France, showcasing a style that can be connected to early Christian cycles, most likely from the sixth century? Well, now you do.
So, these are just few of the things you should know about this marvelous manuscript, which unfortunately is off limits to us mere people. Don’t worry though, we’ve got you covered! To savor the beauty and mystery of the Cambrai Apocalypse you can get your own hot off the presses facsimile edition – produced by Quaternio Verlag Luzern in a limited edition of 680 copies.
So make sure to get your own facsimile edition to leaf through anytime and anywhere!
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