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Just after the year 1000, the monastic island of Reichenau produced impressive wall paintings and illuminated manuscripts, but only one illustrated cycle of the Book of Revelation: the Bamberg Apocalypse. To comply with the Ottonian dynasty’s requests, the best monk-artists filled this luxury volume with almost 60 miniatures on gilded ground and over 100 golden initials.
The costly, marvellous miniatures occupy entire pages with glowing gold and expressive characters, which continue to move viewers even today, one thousand years after the manuscript left the scriptorium. The volume also contains a rich Gospel Lectionary, also decorated with gilded initials.
The rich volume was probably commissioned by Holy Roman Emperor Otto III, who died in 1002 at the age of 21, leaving the manuscript unfinished, before his successor Henry II ordered it to be completed.
A Latin inscription on the now-lost original binding confirms that Henry II and his wife Cunegund donated the manuscript: Henric et Kunigunt haec tibi munera promunt – Henry and Cunegung bequeath you these presents.
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