Bible moralisée of Naples

Bible moralisée of Naples f. 2v (Gen. 1: 4-5)

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f. 2v (Gen. 1: 4-5)

“Here God separates day from night.”

The work of the first day is summed up by the separation of day from night, so one would expect the moralisation medallion to depict the good angels being separated from the wicked, but it shows only the creation of the angels, the portrayal of Fiat lux (Let there be light), with the addition of an embodiment of the Church, as mentioned in the moralisation text. The light of day signifies the light of the angels and the holy Church. Standing on round shapes are two angels, each garbed in red and with three pairs of wings which are also red. These angels are, therefore, seraphim. The French Bible of Vienna features the same scene and the same legend and shows Ecclesia with a crown inside a tabernacle. In the Bible of Naples, the Church is dressed modestly in blue with no crown, looking downwards and holding a codex in her right hand. The Latin Bible of Vienna is more precise: the light of the angels and the Church is accompanied by the shadows of darkness – nox – that signify all the sins of the world summarised as a couple in an embrace opposite an angel speaking to Ecclesia.

Yves Christe
University of Geneva
Marianne Besseyre
Illuminated Manuscripts Research Center, Bibliothèque nationale de France
Fragment of the Bible moralisée of Naples commentary volume


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