Home    News    Newsletter    Press    Contact    Imprint    ADEVA    Partners           Deutsch
  Fine Art Facsimile Editions
Facsimile Cassettes
  New Books
  Book Art
  Encyclopedias / Reprints
  History of Art

The Utrecht Psalter
166 fantastic miniatures from the Carolinian royal court school
Utrecht, Bibliotheek der Rijksuniversiteit, Hs. 32, Hautvilliers, between 820 and 840



Further Pictures


The Psalter as a basic work of monastic choral song has steadily gained in importance from the 6th century.
The Utrecht Psalter is one of the finest manuscripts of this period and probably the most unusual Psalter of the Middle Ages. It was written out and painted between 820 and 840 in the Benedictine abbey of Hautvillers near Rheims, on the initiative of Ebbo, archbishop of Rheims and a foster brother of Emperor Louis the Pious. This sumptuous illuminated work of the Carolingian period is the earliest surviving example of an illustrated Psalter in Western book production.

166 lively and exciting miniatures

All 150 psalms are illustrated with magnificent pen drawings covering the whole width of a page and densely populated with tiny figures hurriedly sketched with a few strokes. These vigorously painted figures are frequently imbedded in faintly sketched landscapes and display a vibrant liveliness. In accordance with the beauty of the text, they are executed in unprecedented perfection. The creative power of the artist has led many renowned art historians to place the master of these pages on equal footing with the great artists of the western world, like Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt or Vincent van Gogh.
In addition to the extraordinary expressive power of the drawings, we are impressed with the artist’s continuous effort to follow the text as closely as possible and marvel at the sheer wealth of symbolism in his illustrations.

A century-old model

The Utrecht Psalter has influenced the evolution of European art throughout the ages, not only in the field of illumination but also in other areas of Carolingian art. It was, above all, the expressive nature and at the same time refined character of the drawings which enriched European art before the first millennium with fresh and spirited elements.
Around the year 1000, the manuscript was brought to England. After the dissolution of English monasteries, the codex passed into private hands. In the 16th century, the Psalter entered the possession of Sir Robert Cotton who had the book bound in the present day full binding of red leather. The binding has been entirely reproduced for the current facsimile edition.

The facsimile edition

All 222 pages of the manuscript, including 166 grisaille miniatures, are faithfully reproduced in the original format of 33 x 26 cm. The binding consists of genuine leather and bears rich gold tooling. The facsimile edition is limited to 980 copies. The commentary volume includes 116 pages and introduces the reader to the world of the Carolingian Renaissance while also providing a comprehensive explanation of the manuscript’s lavish decoration.

  European Illuminated Manuscripts
  European Text Manuscripts
  American Manuscripts
  Oriental Manuscripts
  Music Manuscripts
  Documentations Facsimile Cassettes
  Alphabetical Index
  Chronological Index
  Thematic Index

70 Years of ADEVA


ADEVA - Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt Graz - A-8042 Graz, St. Peter Hauptstraße 98 - Tel/Phone: +43 (0)316 46 3003 - Fax +43 (0)316 46 3003-24