The Wenceslas Bible

The Wenceslas Bible is a two-volume manuscript of the text of the Bible, produced in 1402 and 1403. This luxury manuscript with its stunning ornamentation was commissioned by Conrad of Vechta, mint master of King Wenceslas IV of Bohemia. The two volumes were acquired in or after 1805. They are the finest examples of illuminated manuscripts in the collection formed by Plantin and the Moretus family.

Illuminated with 210 beautiful miniatures

The manuscript is richly illuminated with 210 beautiful miniatures (measuring approx. 9 x 11 cm) and marginal decorations. As well as Biblical scenes, the miniatures show all kinds of scenes from daily life in the Middle Ages. The manuscript is an outstanding example of the high quality of miniature art at the Bohemian court during the last decade of the 14th century.

King Wenceslas IV was a passionate bibliophile. This manuscript was created in 1403 in a Prague scriptorium, at a time when the Prague school of miniaturists was at its height. The broad empty margins make it clear that this was a luxury copy in which all the space did not have to be used. The manuscript was never completed: in the second volume, the miniatures are no longer fully finished, and towards the end, more and more elements are missing. This provides useful insights into the technique of the different artists.

These two volumes were acquired in or after 1805. They are the finest examples of illuminated manuscripts in the collection formed by Plantin and the Moretus family.

Museum Plantin-Moretus
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