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The Antiphonary of St. Peter, part 1
Price: € 98,00   Standing order price: € 85,00
Date: 2009     ISBN: 978-3-201-01912-5

vol. 18/1: picture part: 440 pages
commentary: F. unterkircher/O. Demus, approx. 120 pp (in German)
14,5 x 19,5 cm
ISBN 978-3-201-01912-5

The Antiphonary of St. Peter in Salzburg, written in 1160 by order of Abbot Heinrich I in the monastery’s' scriptorium, is in many respects a superlative manuscript. Its impressive size (43.3 x 31 cm) and extensive content (846 pages) lend a quality of artistic composition that makes this codex one of the greatest liturgical handwritten and miniature artworks of the Middle Ages.

The full-page and half-page miniatures designed and painted in opaque colours on a golden background, the flowered pages completely filled with splendiferous gold and silver initials set against crimson, the large-sized pen drawings and more than 400 flowered initials, as well as its practical use as a calendar, all help to structure the text. At the same time, this codex is made up of constant and changing texts, which are sung throughout the ecclesiastical year at celebrations of mass, as well as sequences (songs for particular Christian solemnities) and texts of song for ceremonial liturgy of hours.

Neumes predominates the majority of the text. Not only is this type (neumes) of notation from the early Middle Ages made apparent here and there throughout the melodic lines but also the intended interpretation of the graphic markings becomes clear. The choice of text written in meticulously designed miniscule, uncial and capitalis and the St. Gallen neumes all make the Antiphonary of St. Peter a treasure trove of research from liturgical science, palaeontology and music science.

The significant meaning of the codex is transferred through its book decoration in which the entire scope of Christian culture is not only animated – from the West as well as the East (Byzantine) but moreover adopted and further developed independently into its own unique style. Through the congenial cooperation between experienced scribes and highly well-known illuminators this codex, created in a Salzburg monastery, represents an important work of book painting from the late Middle Ages and therefore for book painting overall.

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