Gospels of Matthew and John with Canon Tables

Gospels of Matthew and John with Canon Tables

Collection ID

MS.000468.1-.5

Type

Manuscript

Date

ca. 1040

Geography

Armenia or Turkey

Language

Armenian

Medium

Vellum, ink

Dimensions

9 folios; 16.5 × 11.8 in. (42.0 × 30.0 cm)

Exhibit Location

On view in The History of the Bible, Translating the Bible


These nine leaves preserve a part of the canon tables and passages from the Gospels of Matthew and John from an 11th-century illuminated Armenian gospel book. The first leaf contains a canon table on each side. The artist painted the tables as architectural structures consisting of three columns with bowl-shaped capitals that separate the text and support an arch. Colorful birds are perched on both arches. The remaining eight leaves contain text that is divided into two columns of twenty-one lines each. The text is written with a brown ink in a large uncial (erkat’agir) hand. Jean Pozzi, a twentieth-century French diplomat and art collector, originally had twelve leaves of this manuscript but separated them. Two more leaves are now in private hands after a 2008 auction by Sotheby’s, while the fate of the remaining leaf is uncertain.

Created in the mid-11th century, in Armenia, perhaps in the area around Melitene (modern Malatya, Turkey).[1] Acquired in 1934 by Jean Pozzi (1884–1967) in Istanbul;[2] Purchased at auction on April 30, 1971, by Pierre Berès (1913–2008) in Paris; Sold at auction on June 7, 1999, in Paris.[3] Acquired by Les Enluminures;[4] Purchased in 2012 by the Green Collection, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Donated in 2017 to National Christian Foundation (later The Signatry) under the curatorial care of Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC.

Notes: [1] Neither the date nor the location of the monastery where the manuscript was created is certain, since the fragment that survived into the Pozzi collection lacked a colophon. When Archbishop Artavazd Sirmeian first described the leaves in 1950, he gave a date range of the 13th–17th century. The current date and location are based on a comparison of the leaves to manuscripts described by Sirarpie der Nersessian in Armenian Manuscripts in the Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution Freer Gallery of Art Oriental Studies, no. 6 (Washington, DC, 1963), see especially pages 1–7 and plates 1–5 (FGA ms. 33.5 and FGA ms. 47.2–.4), and Lydia A. Dournovo in Armenian Miniatures (Harry N. Abrams, Inc.: New York, 1961), see especially pages 40–47 (The Gospel of 1038, Matenadaran ms. 6201) and pages 58–61 (The Gospel of the Eleventh Century, Matenadaran ms. 974). [2] The date of the acquisition appears in Archbishop Artavazd Sirmeian, Mayr ts'utsʿak hayerēn dzeṛagratsʿ Ewropayi masnawor hawakʿumneru (Grand Catalog of Armenian Manuscripts in European Private Collections), (Imp. Artistique: Paris, 1950) no. 22, 34–6. At the time, Pozzi was a diplomat representing France on the International Straits Commission that managed the Dardanelles and the Bosporus. According to Archbishop Sirmeian, who saw the manuscript in Paris in August 1949, Pozzi possessed twelve leaves. In addition to the text, he described four canon tables and four illuminations: Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem, the Last Supper, Jesus’s betrayal, and the crucifixion. [3] Pierre Berès purchased these nine leaves at Pozzi’s estate auction at the Hôtel Drouot. Pozzi had previously presented two leaves containing two canon tables and the illuminations of Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem and the Last Supper to Professor Jean-Bertrand Barrère (1914–1985) and his wife Micheline (d. 2007). These two leaves were sold at auction by Sotheby’s, London, on December 3, 2008, Lot 26. Sotheby’s description of the Barrère leaves also records the date and location of the purchase and sale of the Berès leaves. At present, it is uncertain what became of the remaining leaf. It contained the images of Jesus’s betrayal (possibly similar in composition to the one in the Gospel of The Eleventh Century, Dournovo, pages 58–59) and crucifixion (possibly similar in composition to the one in the Gospel of 1038, Dournovo, pages 44–45). [4] The acquisition date is uncertain, but the manuscript appears in Laura Light and Sandra Hindman, Before the King James Bible, Text Manuscripts 2 (Les Enluminures: Chicago, 2012), Lot 28. It had previously appeared in William Noah, Ink & Blood, Dead Sea Scrolls to the English Bible, The Museum Exhibit of the Bible, Commemorative Exhibit Catalogue (ACO, LLC: Murfreesboro, TN, 2005), 26–27. Not all items that appear in Ink & Blood catalogs belonged to Noah and his associates, so it is unclear whether this manuscript ever belonged to him.

Selected References

Laura Light and Sandra Hindman, Before the King James Bible, Text Manuscripts 2, Lot 28 (Les Enluminures: Chicago, 2012).

Sotheby’s, Western and Oriental Manuscripts, Lot 26 (Sotheby’s, December 3, 2008).

William Noah, Ink & Blood, Dead Sea Scrolls to the English Bible, The Museum Exhibit of the Bible, Commemorative Exhibit Catalogue (ACO, LLC: Murfreesboro, TN, 2005).

Vrej Nersessian, Treasures from the Ark: 1700 Years of Armenian Christian Art (The British Library and the J. Paul Getty Museum: Los Angeles, CA, 2001).

Sirarpie der Nersessian, Armenian Manuscripts in the Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution Freer Gallery of Art Oriental Studies, no. 6 (Washington, DC, 1963).

Lydia A. Dournovo, Armenian Miniatures (Harry N. Abrams, Inc.: New York, 1961).

Archbishop Artavazd Sirmeian, Mayr ts'utsʿak hayerēn dzeṛagratsʿ Ewropayi masnawor hawakʿumneru (Grand Catalog of Armenian Manuscripts in European Private Collections) (Imp. Artistique: Paris, 1950), no. 22.

description

These nine leaves preserve a part of the canon tables and passages from the Gospels of Matthew and John from an 11th-century illuminated Armenian gospel book. The first leaf contains a canon table on each side. The artist painted the tables as architectural structures consisting of three columns with bowl-shaped capitals that separate the text and support an arch. Colorful birds are perched on both arches. The remaining eight leaves contain text that is divided into two columns of twenty-one lines each. The text is written with a brown ink in a large uncial (erkat’agir) hand. Jean Pozzi, a twentieth-century French diplomat and art collector, originally had twelve leaves of this manuscript but separated them. Two more leaves are now in private hands after a 2008 auction by Sotheby’s, while the fate of the remaining leaf is uncertain.


provenance

Created in the mid-11th century, in Armenia, perhaps in the area around Melitene (modern Malatya, Turkey).[1] Acquired in 1934 by Jean Pozzi (1884–1967) in Istanbul;[2] Purchased at auction on April 30, 1971, by Pierre Berès (1913–2008) in Paris; Sold at auction on June 7, 1999, in Paris.[3] Acquired by Les Enluminures;[4] Purchased in 2012 by the Green Collection, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Donated in 2017 to National Christian Foundation (later The Signatry) under the curatorial care of Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC.

Notes: [1] Neither the date nor the location of the monastery where the manuscript was created is certain, since the fragment that survived into the Pozzi collection lacked a colophon. When Archbishop Artavazd Sirmeian first described the leaves in 1950, he gave a date range of the 13th–17th century. The current date and location are based on a comparison of the leaves to manuscripts described by Sirarpie der Nersessian in Armenian Manuscripts in the Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution Freer Gallery of Art Oriental Studies, no. 6 (Washington, DC, 1963), see especially pages 1–7 and plates 1–5 (FGA ms. 33.5 and FGA ms. 47.2–.4), and Lydia A. Dournovo in Armenian Miniatures (Harry N. Abrams, Inc.: New York, 1961), see especially pages 40–47 (The Gospel of 1038, Matenadaran ms. 6201) and pages 58–61 (The Gospel of the Eleventh Century, Matenadaran ms. 974). [2] The date of the acquisition appears in Archbishop Artavazd Sirmeian, Mayr ts'utsʿak hayerēn dzeṛagratsʿ Ewropayi masnawor hawakʿumneru (Grand Catalog of Armenian Manuscripts in European Private Collections), (Imp. Artistique: Paris, 1950) no. 22, 34–6. At the time, Pozzi was a diplomat representing France on the International Straits Commission that managed the Dardanelles and the Bosporus. According to Archbishop Sirmeian, who saw the manuscript in Paris in August 1949, Pozzi possessed twelve leaves. In addition to the text, he described four canon tables and four illuminations: Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem, the Last Supper, Jesus’s betrayal, and the crucifixion. [3] Pierre Berès purchased these nine leaves at Pozzi’s estate auction at the Hôtel Drouot. Pozzi had previously presented two leaves containing two canon tables and the illuminations of Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem and the Last Supper to Professor Jean-Bertrand Barrère (1914–1985) and his wife Micheline (d. 2007). These two leaves were sold at auction by Sotheby’s, London, on December 3, 2008, Lot 26. Sotheby’s description of the Barrère leaves also records the date and location of the purchase and sale of the Berès leaves. At present, it is uncertain what became of the remaining leaf. It contained the images of Jesus’s betrayal (possibly similar in composition to the one in the Gospel of The Eleventh Century, Dournovo, pages 58–59) and crucifixion (possibly similar in composition to the one in the Gospel of 1038, Dournovo, pages 44–45). [4] The acquisition date is uncertain, but the manuscript appears in Laura Light and Sandra Hindman, Before the King James Bible, Text Manuscripts 2 (Les Enluminures: Chicago, 2012), Lot 28. It had previously appeared in William Noah, Ink & Blood, Dead Sea Scrolls to the English Bible, The Museum Exhibit of the Bible, Commemorative Exhibit Catalogue (ACO, LLC: Murfreesboro, TN, 2005), 26–27. Not all items that appear in Ink & Blood catalogs belonged to Noah and his associates, so it is unclear whether this manuscript ever belonged to him.

Selected References

Laura Light and Sandra Hindman, Before the King James Bible, Text Manuscripts 2, Lot 28 (Les Enluminures: Chicago, 2012).

Sotheby’s, Western and Oriental Manuscripts, Lot 26 (Sotheby’s, December 3, 2008).

William Noah, Ink & Blood, Dead Sea Scrolls to the English Bible, The Museum Exhibit of the Bible, Commemorative Exhibit Catalogue (ACO, LLC: Murfreesboro, TN, 2005).

Vrej Nersessian, Treasures from the Ark: 1700 Years of Armenian Christian Art (The British Library and the J. Paul Getty Museum: Los Angeles, CA, 2001).

Sirarpie der Nersessian, Armenian Manuscripts in the Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution Freer Gallery of Art Oriental Studies, no. 6 (Washington, DC, 1963).

Lydia A. Dournovo, Armenian Miniatures (Harry N. Abrams, Inc.: New York, 1961).

Archbishop Artavazd Sirmeian, Mayr ts'utsʿak hayerēn dzeṛagratsʿ Ewropayi masnawor hawakʿumneru (Grand Catalog of Armenian Manuscripts in European Private Collections) (Imp. Artistique: Paris, 1950), no. 22.


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