Book of Testaments

Book of Testaments folio 3v, Archbishop Adolph


folio 3v, Archbishop Adolph

Only the testaments of kings merit an entire illuminated folio. However, various complementary illustrations feature bishops and Popes as their protagonists. This and the following image are carefully selected, because they could be used to emphasise a fact that the most reliable documents could not verify: in 821 A.D., a Synod had declared Oviedo the headquarters of the archbishop. It is for this reason that anyone with the name Adolph bears the title of archbishop.
The method of composition chosen by the artist is one very common since antiquity, and resuscitated in the Romanesque style: putting an arch over the character one wants to highlight.  But while the norm would be that the arch was supported by matching columns with shaft and capital, here it is depicted with two picturesque lions instead. This exemplifies a feature which would become characteristic of this work: a tendency towards certain forms of caprice.  

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