Silos Beatus

Silos Beatus f. 5v, Oviedo Cross

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f. 5v, Oviedo Cross

Folio 5r is blank and marks the beginning of the Beatus codex itself. The layout of the cross on f. 5v differs from the two previous crosses in certain respects although it is, like them, in line with the Oviedo style. This illustration, like the following folios 6, 7r and 7v , is the work of Petrus and shows the cross set upon a tall staff arising from sort of X decorated with interlace motifs. Decorations of the same type appear inside the two arms, forming four circles with gold inside them. The Alpha and Omega hanging from the lateral arms mark the onset of a type of decoration to be found in a variety of forms throughout the codex. Protruding from the angles formed by the intersection of the arms are four blade shapes like dainty rosettes but smaller than those on the spandrels of the arch. Two violet bands constitute the basis of the surroundings of the cross, columns and arch. On each side of the bands of colour are two figures – as if they were mainstays – mounted upon X-shape structures, the tips of which end in dragons biting the legs of the figures. The two upper figures support the arch, lavishly bedecked with golden circles and structures in the form of inverted m’s. The outside is decorated with fringes drawn using regular lines. The colours of the yellow grounds and red lines used with a clearly plastic intent, in addition to the violet, endow the illustration as a whole with a different appearance from the Oviedo crosses not belonging to the Beatus codex which were mentioned earlier. The image is completed by a legend in capital letters reading PAX LUX/ REX LEX, a repetition of the one in the Homilies of Smaragdus in Cordova cathedral, dating from the mid-tenth century: a legend denoting Carolingian influence as in Lothair’s Gospels, donated to Prum monastery.

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