The project for cataloguing the illuminated manuscripts of French provenance at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Munich

The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek holds an outstanding collection of around 425 medieval manuscripts which were provided with book illuminations in France and the neighbouring regions (Belgium, Netherlands, England and Spain). They go back to the time between the late 10th and the early 16th century and can be found in several collection groups of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek: predominantly, they belong to the Latin manuscripts (Codices latini Monacenses = Clm) and the French manuscripts (Codices gallici), in addition also to the German (Codices germanici Monacenses = Cgm), other Romance languages (for example Codices hispanici) and the English (Codices anglici) manuscripts. A number of early printed works also contain fragments of manuscripts with French book illuminations used to cover the bindings, or incunabula were artistically adorned by book illustrators from this region.

Despite the importance of the Munich collections, so far no systematic, academic description and art-historical analysis has taken place. Consequently, only individual specimens are known to art-historical research internationally. Among the codices of outstanding artistic quality, there is a manuscript from Brittany, containing a French translation of the "Liber De casibus virorum illustrium et de mulieribus claris“ by Giovanni Boccaccio (Cod.gall. 6), which was illuminated in the workshop of Jean Fouquet in 1458. Two books of hours with miniatures by Simon Bening (Clm 23637 and Clm 28345) and of the prayer book of Princess Sibylle von Cleve (Cgm 84, around 1527) received their artistic design in the Netherlands. Two English Psalter manuscripts of the 13th and 14th century, the "Golden Munich Psalter" (Clm 835) and the Isabella Psalter (Cod.gall. 16), merit mention as well.

Digital versions:

Cod.gall. 6:   "Liber De casibus virorum illustrium et de mulieribus claris" by Giovanni Boccaccio
Cgm 84:   Prayer book of Princess Sibylle von Cleve
Clm 835:   Golden Munich Psalter
Cod.gall. 16:   Isabella Psalter

In a project supported by the German Research Foundation, around 250 manuscripts of the 10th to the mid-14th century are processed in accordance with the DFG's guidelines by Ulrike Bauer-Eberhardt in a first project phase of five years that started in 2013. The results will be made available in the form of a printed publication and on the Internet, in the open-access format.

The project continues the series of catalogues of illuminated manuscripts of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, connecting up with the two-part catalogue of illuminated manuscripts of Italian provenance published by Ulrike Bauer-Eberhardt in 2011 and 2014. Since the 1980s, codices have been analysed and described art-historically, starting with the codices from the German language area. The publications include descriptions of the pre-Carolingian and Carolingian manuscripts (Katharina Bierbrauer, 1990), of the Ottonian manuscripts (Elisabeth Klemm, 2004), of the Romance-language manuscripts (Elisabeth Klemm, 1980 and 1988), the manuscripts of the thirteenth century (Elisabeth Klemm, 1998) and the Gothic manuscripts up to the mid-14th century (Béatrice Hernad, 2000). The eighth volume of the catalogue series is dedicated to the Codices iconographici, a collection of medieval and early modern illuminated manuscripts with only a small proportion of text (Marianne Reuter, 2013).