Girona Beatus

Girona Beatus f. 2r, Maiestas Domini


f. 2r, Maiestas Domini

This miniature shows Christ with a cruciform nimbus seated upon a throne holding a small gold disk with a dark spot in the middle – identified by the legend above as “mundus” – between the thumb and middle finger of his right hand. His left hand holds a closed, gold book, the codex vitae, lying on his knee. The Lord is surrounded by a mandorla consisting of two large segments of a circle – the upper one decorated with heart-shaped forms, and the lower one with wavy shapes – that comprise a figure-eight shape containing a first-quarter moon. The mandorla is surrounded by a large rhombus crossed in turn by a quadrangular shape with wavy sides containing the symbolic representations of the four evangelists, each holding a golden book and looking inwards, i.e. towards the Son of God. They are, furthermore, identified by legends overhead reading, from top to bottom and left to right: St Matthew, MATHEVS, depicted as an angel or haloed man pointing at Christ; St John, IOANNES, as an eagle which, as we will see later, poses certain problems as regards its attributes; St Mark, MARCVS, as a winged lion with a nimbus; and finally St Luke, LVCAS, as an ox with wings but no nimbus. The upper lobes of this quadrangular shape contain two garbed and symmetrical angels pointing towards the centre, whilst the lower lobes are held up by two naked, winged figures like classic atlases, one making a certain effort. In the bottom vertex of the rhombus is a coarsely painted figure which was undoubtedly added subsequently and bears no relation to the composition or iconography of this illustration. The only tenth-century Beatus in which this image typical of branch IIb is however to be found is that of Gerona.

Carlos Miranda García-Tejedor
Doctor in History
(Fragment of the Girona Beatus commentary volume)

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