This Gothic manuscript represents a remarkable example of a decorated calendar intended as an independent and precious work. The codex comprises nine large-sized pages and contains a complete calendar enclosed by architectural decorations. Elaborate zodiac signs decorate the calendar along with two full-page miniatures illustrating five scenes of the Life of Christ including the Annunciation, the Nativity, the Crucifixion, the Ascension and Christ in majesty.
The Making of the Hildesheim Golden Calendar
The so-called Golden Calendar was produced at the end of the thirteenth century probably in the renowned scriptorium of the Benedictine Abbey of St. Michael in Hildesheim. The Abbey, which was founded by Bernward at the end of the tenth or early eleventh century, had a long tradition of production of manuscripts.
Because of the pictorial style and the high quality of its painting, this calendar has been attributed to the scriptorium of Hildesheim and probably made for the Abbey of St. Servatius at Quedlinburg.
The Style of the Illuminations of the Golden Calendar
The miniatures of this luxurious fragmentary codex are painted with bright colors over gold ground and show characteristics usually visible in the miniatures of the books of Hildesheim from the Ottonian period onwards.
The Calendar is a remarkable example of a style called Zackenstil that developed in Germany in the thirteenth century. This style shows twisted and angular lines for example in the drapery and garments.
The pictorial effect combines the use of gold and the ieratic figures typical of the Byzantine painting with the early Gothic dramatic and vivid expressions of the portrayed characters.
Traditional stylistic features of the Zackenstil are visible in the Golden Calendar and include sharp lines, dramatic movement of the drapery folds, and extensive use of golden backgrounds.
We have 2 facsimiles of the manuscript "Hildesheim Golden Calendar":
- Das Goldene Hildesheimer Kalendarium facsimile edition published by Mueller & Schindler, 2003
- Il Calendario d'Oro di Hildesheim facsimile edition published by Il Bulino, edizioni d'arte