Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Cod. Theol. gr. 31

Vienna Genesis Facsimile Edition

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4,480

approx US$ 4,908


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The Vienna Genesis is not only a sumptuous book from the early Byzantine empire, it is also among the oldest known illustrated biblical manuscripts. It is only one of two illuminated Greek Old Testament works to survive from before the period of imperially sanctioned iconoclasm in the eighth century making it an important source of information about late Antique and early Byzantine narrative art. There were originally between four and five hundred iconographic scenes, a quarter of which survive in the present manuscript. Of the original text, the Greek Septuagint, only a portion of Genesis remains.

The exact origin of the Vienna Genesis is unknown. Its similarities to the Rossano and Sinope Gospels suggest it was made in an eastern province of the Byzantine Empire. Given the luxury materials used, it was likely produced at an urban center enjoying imperial patronage. Although the manuscript is fragmentary, the preservation of the colorful, detailed images is remarkable providing key insight into the early period of book illumination.

Oldest Surviving Illustrated Biblical Manuscript

The richly colored and exquisitely detailed illuminations in the Vienna Genesis are placed in the bottom half of the page below the text they illustrate. Some are executed as continuous narrative, where the separate events of a story are presented within a single image. The style of the illustrations is transitional from the isolated scenes in scrolls to the framed compositions of medieval books. Several artists worked on the manuscript and this is seen in the various approaches taken with the pictures. Some, like the first image of the Garden of Eden, are framed in red. Others, like that of Jacob and Esau, are divided into two registers with multiple separate narrative scenes. Each is a jewel of early manuscript illustration.

Silver Script on Purple Pages

Every page of the Vienna Genesis was dyed a deep purple, although the color has since faded to brown. Purple dye was restricted to imperial use suggesting the book of the Septuagint may have been made for Justinian I or someone of high status in his court. Likewise, the Greek uncial text was written in glittering silver ink. Now it has tarnished to black. Today one must imagine the original glory of the shining script on its regal pages.

“I was transported with joy when I discovered this gem.”

A number of early Byzantine purple-paged manuscripts were brought to Italy by crusaders returning to Europe from the Levant. The Vienna Genesis may have been among them. It was in Vienna by 1664 when Archduke Leopold Wilhelm obtained the book for his extensive art collection. This book was bequeathed to his nephew, Emperor Leopold I, which, along with the rest of the archducal gallery, served as the basis for the modern national art collection of Austria.

We have 2 facsimiles of the manuscript "Vienna Genesis":

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Manuscript book description compiled by Amy R. Miller.

#1 Die Wiener Genesis

Lucerne: Quaternio Verlag Luzern, 2019

Die Wiener Genesis, Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Codex Theol. Gr. 31 − Photo 1
Die Wiener Genesis, Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Codex Theol. Gr. 31 − Photo 1
  • Commentary (German) by Zimmermann, Barbara; Gastgeber, Christian; Hofmann, Christa
  • Limited Edition: 480 copies
  • Full-size color reproduction of the entire original document, Vienna Genesis: the facsimile attempts to replicate the look-and-feel and physical features of the original document; pages are trimmed according to the original format; the binding might not be consistent with the current document binding.

The surviving 24 fragments of the original Vienna Genesis Codex Theol. Gr. 31 are reproduced with full-color and great details. Holes are also cut with laser technology. All pages are bound together.

Binding

Dark-brown goatskin with gold tooling.

Used and new from

€ 4,480

approx US$ 4,908


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#2 Wiener Genesis

Frankfurt: Insel Verlag, 1980

+ 23

Wiener Genesis, Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Codex Theol. Gr. 31, Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.
Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.

+ 23

Wiener Genesis, Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Codex Theol. Gr. 31, Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.
Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.

+ 23

Wiener Genesis, Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Codex Theol. Gr. 31, Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.
Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.

+ 23

Wiener Genesis, Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Codex Theol. Gr. 31, Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.
Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.

+ 23

Wiener Genesis, Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Codex Theol. Gr. 31, Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.
Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.

+ 23

Wiener Genesis, Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Codex Theol. Gr. 31, Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.
Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.

+ 23

Wiener Genesis, Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Codex Theol. Gr. 31, Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.
Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.

+ 23

Wiener Genesis, Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Codex Theol. Gr. 31, Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.
Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.

+ 23

Wiener Genesis, Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Codex Theol. Gr. 31, Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.
Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.

+ 23

Wiener Genesis, Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Codex Theol. Gr. 31, Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.
Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.

+ 23

Wiener Genesis, Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Codex Theol. Gr. 31, Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.
Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.

+ 23

Wiener Genesis, Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Codex Theol. Gr. 31, Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.
Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.

+ 23

Wiener Genesis, Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Codex Theol. Gr. 31, Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.
Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.

+ 23

Wiener Genesis, Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Codex Theol. Gr. 31, Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.
Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.

+ 23

Wiener Genesis, Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Codex Theol. Gr. 31, Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.
Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.

+ 23

Wiener Genesis, Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Codex Theol. Gr. 31, Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.
Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.

+ 23

Wiener Genesis, Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Codex Theol. Gr. 31, Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.
Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.

+ 23

Wiener Genesis, Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Codex Theol. Gr. 31, Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.
Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.

+ 23

Wiener Genesis, Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Codex Theol. Gr. 31, Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.
Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.

+ 23

Wiener Genesis, Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Codex Theol. Gr. 31, Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.
Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.

+ 23

Wiener Genesis, Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Codex Theol. Gr. 31, Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.
Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.

+ 23

Wiener Genesis, Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Codex Theol. Gr. 31, Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.
Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.

+ 23

Wiener Genesis, Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Codex Theol. Gr. 31, Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.
Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.

+ 23

Wiener Genesis, Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Codex Theol. Gr. 31, Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.
Wiener Genesis facsimile by Insel Verlag.
  • Commentary (German) by Mazal, Otto
  • Limited Edition: 900 copies
  • This is a partial facsimile of the original document, Vienna Genesis: the facsimile might represent only a part, or doesn't attempt to replicate the format, or doesn't imitate the look-and-feel of the original document.

The facsimile (fully colored) is the complete reproduction of the whole original document (24 extant folios) in its original size. The collotype facsimile pages are printed on a larger white background. The commentary volume (207 pp.) includes a full bibliography.

In 2010 this edition was partly distributed by Frölich & Kaufmann Verlag with a different binding.

Binding

The facsimile edition was produced in two versions: 1) burgundy leather binding; 2) cabra leather binding. 

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