The author, possibly born in 730 and died towards 798, was probably abbot of the San Martín de Liébana Monastery, chaplain of Osinda, wife of Silo – king of Asturias from 755 to 783 – and who spiritually modeled the Spain of the VIII century.
The Burgo de Osma Codex is part of a group of twenty-seven illustrated commentaries on the Book of Apocalypse by Beatus of Liébana, a monk who lived in the Kingdom of Asturias, Spain, until ca. 800. For more information on the Beatus model, read our blog article by Amy R. Miller (PhD, Medieval Art History, University of Toronto).
A World of Unimaginable Terror
The characteristic era of these centuries, with their particular way of life, refined, full of terror, magic and fearful visions, all of which may be found among the pages of these works.
The comment by Beatus on the Saint John’s Apocalypse contains a prophetic orientation, distanced from the evangelist concept of that Saint: rather than predicting the future offers us the terror of punishment.
The Art of the Book
The Beato of the Burgo of Osma, according to several places in the codex, was written by the cleric Pedro and illustrated by Martino in 1086. There are scenes with floral decorations which appear to be hellenistic. Others, pre-Roman or Carolingian, without forgetting the traditional autochtonous. The illustrating artist, is a classicist, of occidental and contemporary esthetics. It is linked to the first Beato of the National Library, with that of the Escorial and with that of San Millán. The color is bright, with intense backgrounds, reds, yellows or greens. Outstanding as the most beautiful of all the illustrations is that of the Saviour on horseback, accompanied by other saints. The drawing is exquisite, with a line elegance which enlarges and ripples the shapes.
We have 2 facsimiles of the manuscript "Beatus of Liébana - Burgo de Osma Codex":
- El Beato de El Burgo de Osma. Apocalipsis de San Juan facsimile edition published by Scriptorium, 2015
- Beato de Liébana del Burgo de Osma facsimile edition published by Vicent Garcia Editores, 1993