Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Clm 835

Munich Golden Psalter Facsimile Edition

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The Munich golden Psalter – currently located in the Bavarian State Library – is a wealthy and lavish prayerbook featuring several illustrations: 91 full-page miniatures depicted on a shimmering gold background, 24 beautifully illuminated medallion miniatures, and several historiated and inhabited initials. Furthermore, the richly decorated manuscript features a calendar and red and blue line fillers which complement the sense of opulence of the work. The codex was created in the early 13th century in Oxford by the hand of three artists who collaborated to create a manuscript that is considered striking as it represents the shift from the Romanesque to the Gothic art.

Lavish Work for Daily Use

As the educated class started to develop an interest toward books for private devotions, the favored type was the psalter due to its easy readability and its daily use. From the end of the 12th century to the 14th century there was a great production of psalters in England and northern France.

The iconographic apparatus of the Munich Golden Psalter features a detailed cycle of miniatures evenly distributed throughout the leaves of the manuscript. The manuscript contains 19 illuminated scenes from the New Testament depicting themes such as the Annunciation, birth, Passion, crucifixion, and Pentecost and 16 full-page miniatures from the Old Testament.

In addition to the main illustrations the lavish manuscript features several examples of sumptuous illuminated initials such as 10 decorated initials, half a page in size, featuring multi-colored, intertwined bands with elongated foliate and dragon decorations.

From Romanesque to Gothic: the Transitional Style

The artistic style of the works created in England between 1180 and 1220 are identified as Transitional Style. The Munich Golden Psalter belongs to this period, in which the Romanesque style was slowly coming to an end and the early Gothic was about to manifest itself, witnessing the shift from one artistic movement to another.

The transition from one style to another is clear in the representation of the figures which feature a sense of calm, although the anatomic and proportionate rendition of the human body is still limited. Nevertheless, artists focused on more natural and realistic representations of human faces and fabrics, with the use of the shadowing technique in a more graduated way. At this time artists attempted a more precise approach to their figures lending them substance without the exaggerations of gestures and poses that were more typical of the Romanesque style.

We have 1 facsimile edition of the manuscript "Munich Golden Psalter": Der Goldene Münchner Psalter facsimile edition, published by Quaternio Verlag Luzern, 2011

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Der Goldene Münchner Psalter

Luzern: Quaternio Verlag Luzern, 2011

  • Commentary (English, German) by Morgan, N.J.; Schreiber, C.
  • Limited Edition: 680 copies
  • This facsimile is complete (full-size color reproduction of the whole original document).

The Munich Golden Psalter is kept under the shelf mark Clm 835 in the vault of the world-famous Bavarian State Library. Only 680 hand-numbered volumes of a unique, strictly limited, complete facsimile edition of this illustrated manuscript have been printed, in the original size of approximately 28 × 19.5 cm. All 166 folios, with 91 pages of miniatures and over 180 decorative initials, ornamented in lustrous gold and fine silver, have been reproduced in all of their brilliance. A bilingual commentary in English and German explains not only the biblical scenes, but also the sometimes unusual iconography of the psalter. Nigel J. Morgan, Honorary Professor of the History of Art and Fellow of Corpus Christi College Cambridge, provides a lively introduction to the world of exquisite, thirteenth-century illuminated manuscripts, as well as an extensive description of all of the miniatures, giving special consideration to their iconography. Carolin Schreiber, curator of manuscripts at the Bavarian State Library, describes the structure of the manuscript’s codicology. Both volumes—the facsimile and the commentary—are delivered in an acrylic glass case, so that the facsimile is not only protected from dust, but also decoratively presented.


Just like the original codex, the facsimile edition is bound in light-coloured suede with two brass clasps.

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€ 7,480

approx US$ 8,068

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