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BIBLIA


547


BIBLIA


pictures illustrating events in the Bible -nith short descriptive text. This is of the end of the thirteenth, or the beginning of the fourteenth, century. Of the same date is the "Historia Bibliae metrice" which is preserved in tlie .same library and, as the name im- plies, has a metrical text. But we have specimens of manuscript illustrated Bibles of earlier date. Such is the Bible preserved in the hbrary of St. Paul's, outside the walls of Rome; that of the Amiens Library (MS. 108), and that of the Royal Library of The Hague (MS. 69). So numerous are the sur- %-i\-ing relics of such Bibles, back even so far as the eleventh and twelfth centvtries, that it may be safely said that the Church made a systematic effort to teach the Scriptures in those days by means of illustrated Bibles.

Single Illustr.4.ted Books of the Bible. — The Bibles that have come under notice so far illustrate the entire Scriptures. But what was done for the Bible in full was also done for its various parts. Numerous beautifully illustrated psalters have come down to us, some of them going as far back as tlie ninth centurj', as, for instance, the Psalter of the Uni\-ersity of Utrecht. One thing that comes out clearly from a study of the contents and character of tiiese psalters is that a very large proportion of them were executed by artists working in England. So, too, the book of Job and the Apocalj'pse were copied separately and adorned T\-ith numerous illus- trations. But, as we should have expected, the Gospels were a specially favourite field for the me- dieval artists who devoted their time to picture-paint- ing.

BiBLiA P.\DPERUM. — A class of illustrated Bibles to which no allusion has been made, but which had a wide circulation especially in the fifteenth century was the "Biblia Pauperum". As its name indicates, it was especially intended for the poor and ignorant, and some say that it was used for purposes of preach- ing by the mendicant orders. It existed at first in manuscript (indeed a manuscript copy is still in ex- istence in the library of the British Museum); but at a very early period it was reproduced by xylog- raphy, then coming into use in Europe. As a con- sequence the "Biblia Pauperum" was published and sold at a much cheaper rate than the older manuscript picture Bibles. The general characteristics of this Bible are the same as those of the earlier picture Bibles. The pictures are generally placed only on one side of the page, and are framed in a kind of triptych of architectural design. In the centre is a scene from the New Testament, and on either side of it typical events from the Old Testament. Above and" below the central picture are busts of four noted prophets or other famous characters of the Old Testa- ment. In the corners of the picture are the legends. The number of these pictures in the " Biblia Pau- perum ' ' was usually from forty to fifty.

Picture Bibles of the Middle Ages did not exhaust the resources of Cliristians in illustration of the Bible. Since the fifteenth century a host of artistic gen- iuses have contributed to make the events of Scrip- ture live in colour before our eyes. Most noted amongst them were Michelangelo and Raphael; the former chiefly famous for his Pieta and the frescoes in the Sistine Chapel; the latter for the fifty-two pictures adorning the Vatican and known as "Raph- ael's Bible", and still more for the seven cartoons illustrating events in the New Testament. Perhaps no sacred picture has been so often copied as "The Last Supper" of Leonardo da Vinci painted in the refectory of the Dominican convent in Milan. Well known, too, are Fra Bartolomeo's "Presentation in the Temple" in Vienna, and Rubens's numerous Bible pictures, to be found in the Lou\Te, Brussels, Vienna, Munich, and London, but chiefly at Antwerp, where are his "Descent from the Cross", "Crucifix-


ion", and "Adoration of the Magi", the most famous of his works. These are but a few out of a number of illustrious names too numerous to mention here and including Botticelli, Carrucci, Hohnan Hunt, Leighton, MuriUo, Veronese, Tintoretto, and Watts.

To study the works of the great Bible-illustrators is not so chfficult as might be supposed. For of late years a great number of collections of Bible prints have been made, some containing engravings of the most famous paintings. In the first half of last century Julius Schnorr collected together 180 designs called his " Bible Pictures, or Scripture Histon.'"; and another series of 240 pictures was published in 1860 by George Wigand; whilst later in the centurj- ap- peared Dalziel's "Bible Gahery". Hodder and Stoughton have published excellent volumes repro- ducing some of the pictures of the greatest masters. Such are "The Old Testament in .4rt" (2 parts); "The Gospels in Art", "The Apostles in Art", and "Bethlehem to Ohvet", this latter being made up of modern pictures. The Society for the Promotion of Cliristian Knowledge has not been behindhand, but has issued amongst other publications a volume on "Art Pictures from the Old Testament" -n-ith ninety illustrations, and another on the Ciospels with 350 il- lustrations from the works of the great masters of the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries.

HoRXE, Introduction to the Holy Scriptures (London. 1822). 11, 3d ed.; Hcmphrey. History of the Art of Printing! (London. 1868); Levesqce in Vie. Di^l. de la Bible (Paris. 1894). s. y. Bihte en image; Delisle, Hist, titteraire de la France (Paris, 1893). XXXf. 213-285; Berjead, Biblia Pauperum. repro- duced in facsimile from one of the copies in the British Museum, with an historical and bibliographical introduction (London, 1859).

J. A. HOWLETT.

Biblia Magna. See L.\ H.^ye.

Biblia Maxima. See L.\ H.\yE.

Biblia Pauperum (Bible of the Poor) a col- lection of pictures representing scenes from Our Lord's life with the corresponding prophetic types. The series commonly consists of forty or fifty pages. The page is dividecl into nine sections. The four corners are used for explanatory texts. The central pictures represent scenes from Our Lord's life, ar- ranged chronologically. Above and below these are pictures of prophets and on each side are scenes from the Old Testament. It is thus a concordance of the Old and the New Testaments in which is gathered together the common tradition of the Church on the types and figures of the Old Testament, as taught by the liturgj' and the Fathers. Hence they were called sometimes " Figurae t j-pic^T Veteris Tes- tamenti atque antitypicae Novi Testamenti" or "Historia Christi in Figuris". An interesting repro- duction and description of a page on the Blessed Sacrament is given in Vigouroux, "Dictionnaire de la Bible", s. v.

The invention of these picture-books is ascribed to St. Ansgar, Bishop of Bremen. This is stated in a note added to a copy at Hanover and in the cathedral at Bremen there are remains of pictures, corresponding to this copy. The name, however, of "Biblia Pauperum" does not seem to liave been primitive. It was added by a later hand to a MS. in the Wolffenbiittel library; the MS. was thus catalogued, and the name became common. It is uncertain why they were so called. Perhaps it was because of the ancient saying that pictures were the Bible of the poor, that is, of the uneducated. Some think that the name came from their use by the mendicant orders as books of instruction. Others suppose that the term means inexpensive; manu- scripts had been beyond the means of most people; when the art of printing from engraved blocks was introduced these picture-books were among the first printed and gained a wide circulation. We have no definite information as to the purpose for which