Various - The Getty Apocalypse Bible Illustrated Book of Revelation Limited Edition - ( Item 127340 )
Published in London by Folio Society. 2011. First Thus. Fine Hardback. No inscriptions or bookplates. Fine slipcase. Limited to 1,000 numbered copies of which this is number 105. Quarter-bound in Wassa Goatskin with vegetable parchment sides. Printed and blocked in four foils with a design by David Eccles. 92 pages with 82 miniatures. Printed on Furioso paper with gilded and shuffled page edges. Ribbon marker. Book size: 12¾" x 9". The Getty Apocalypse. A masterpiece of English medieval art reproduced for the first time. In the mid-13th century a remarkable creative flowering took place in English art. As influential preachers predicted the end of the world, and catastrophic events appeared to confirm their dire warnings, there was a surge in demand for illuminated manuscripts of Revelation, the culminating book of the New Testament, known as the Apocalypse of John the Divine. The text is short, but filled with visionary imagery to which artists responded in spectacular fashion. Among the surviving manuscripts, one of the very finest is the Getty Apocalypse, here presented in facsimile for the first time. The Getty Apocalypse exemplifies the best of the English school of the mid-13th century, and is an exceptional artistic achievement. Over 80 magnificent miniatures set in succession above the text create a glorious sequence of divine revelation, leading the viewer through John's poetic, dramatic vision of the Apocalypse. These are amongst the finest of medieval miniatures: exquisitely delineated in tinted colour embellished with gold and silver leaf. Each shows the hand of a master artist possessed of an unerring sense of composition, a wonderful understanding of colour, and a rare ability to express emotion through gesture and expression. Some manuscripts are more lavish in their use of gold, others are larger, or more idiosyncratic, but none can equal the unique combination of features found in the Getty. Revelation tells of the vision granted to John the Divine. During the Middle Ages this shadowy figure was believed to be John, the author of the fourth Gospel. An apocryphal 'Life' of John tells of his persecutions under the Emperor Domitian. He was immersed in a cauldron of boiling oil (from which he miraculously emerged unscathed) and then exiled to the island of Patmos, where an angel showed him the vision that he described in his Revelation. He witnessed the ultimate battle between good and evil; the end of the world; the second coming of Christ, and the final fate of the saved and the damned. It is a powerful work, filled with disturbing images and symbols and written in a resonant, poetic language which still has the ability to instil awe in readers today. A sense of immediacy and urgency runs through this Apocalypse, enhanced by the artist's decision to include the figure of John witnessing each scene. He kneels in awe at the appearance of the lamb, and peers through a window in the frame. Horrified by flood or earthquake, John turns away, peeping back through the frame, as if unable to help himself. Occasionally, his eagerness to see more makes him lean against the frame or stretch up on tiptoe for a better view. In one vision, John's own symbol, the eagle, thrusts its beak through a window as if to emphasise the importance of what he is seeing. This adds a dramatic dimension to the narrative, involving us in the process of revelation itself. It is a fascinating trope, and although other manuscripts had experimented with the device, nowhere else is it so fully, or so subtly explored.
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