Glanzlichter of Book Art 20: The Psautier des Saint Louis
Price: € 98,00
Standing order price: € 85,00
Illustrated pages: 184
Commentary: Marcel Thomas, 80 pages, German/French/English
The Psautier des Saint Louis manuscript, which is held in the National Library in Paris, holds an outstanding place even amongst an immensely rich array of codices.
Manufactured for one of the most important rulers of the Middle Ages, whose reign in France was known as the „Golden Age“ , the manuscript almost approaches the status of a relic. Saint Louis IX embodied the ideal Christian ruler, whose deepest religious beliefs determined his behaviour as a man and a king. From a number of different sources, we know that the king dedicated himself to daily religious readings. The assumption that between the years 1253 and 1270, he prayed directly out of this Psautier, which was both artfully created and written for him, is well justified.
The Latin text of psalms is preceded by a magnificent cycle of pictures, with 78 full-page miniatures from the Old Testament and represents the highpoint of Gothic French Book Art.
Scenes out of the book of Genesis, Exodus, Numeri, Joshua, judges and Samuel/kings are all embedded within an architectural surrounding, and bestowed with life-like motion: elegantly proportioned, graceful figures which seem to possess an inherent attitude of their own. The rich use of gold and typical colours of the royal court of these times – deep blue and pink, soft tones of green and bluish gray – all call to mind the stained glass windows of the Saint Chapel in Paris, each one of which Saint Louis had built shortly before the middle of the 13th century.
The precious manuscript consists of 260 pages including; the cycle of pictures, the text of psalms, a calendar and a series of prayers. In the existing manuscript, the most important psalms are preceded and highlighted by the entire book decoration – the 78 full-page miniatures, the calendar and the 8 impressive figure-like initials. The Psautier Ludwig, by way of its extraordinary illustrations, proves to be one of the most beautiful representations of French Book Art of the 13th Century.
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