8 June, 17:25

Vienna Genesis: what an ancient illuminated manuscript of the Book of Genesis looks like

Vienna Genesis: what an ancient illuminated manuscript of the Book of Genesis looks like
The Vienna Genesis, created in the first half of the 6th century somewhere in Syria, is one of the most famous surviving ancient biblical codices. This unique manuscript contains fragments of the text from the Book of Genesis, presented in the Greek translation of the Septuagint, which was made in the III-I centuries. to n. e. The text part is supplemented with rich illustrative material.

Only 24 sheets of calfskin have survived to this day, each of which contains one illustration on both sides. It is believed that in its original form the codex consisted of 96 pages and contained 192 images. Today, this manuscript is kept in the Austrian National Library, founded by Duke Albrecht III in the 14th century.
The text part of the Viennese Genesis is made with silver ink. The illustrations have all the features characteristic of the painting of those times, reflecting transitional elements of the art of illustration in the codes of earlier and later periods. Several plots are often depicted within one illustration, and some characters move from one drawing to another. In some cases, the same person is depicted on the same page several times.

It is interesting that there are pictures here that are in no way related to the Book of Genesis. There is an opinion that these plots are borrowed from Jewish biblical interpretations and traditions. This approach adds additional cultural and historical context to the understanding of the Viennese Genesis.
Researchers attribute this manuscript to the Syrian monuments of book art, which are united by a special style. There is an assumption that the Vienna Genesis was copied from a similar codex, possibly the Antiochian manuscript, created a little earlier.

The Vienna Genesis is a valuable historical and artistic artifact, evidence of the interpenetration of cultures and traditions. It shows how ancient artists and writers combined religious texts with visual art.

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