The Utrecht Psalter, among the most influential of nine century illuminated manuscripts, with amongst the most unusual histories of ownership, consists of 166 pen illustrations, one accompanying each of 150 psalms and also 16 canticles in the manuscript. That was created in imitation rustic capitals. Follow to the most recent research (1996) the manuscript was written at the monastery the Hautvillers, near Reims, Franceas it is connected in layout to the Ebbo Gospels. It may have actually been sponsored by Ebbo, Archbishop that Reims, in which case it would certainly be dated between 816 and 835. Others have said for a date circa 850, believing that the psalm illustrations attract from the travels of Saxon theologianGottschalk that Orbais, and the illustration through the Athanasian Creed and also other details pertain much more to Archbishop Hincmar, Ebbo"s successor.

The Utrecht Psalter has been defined as "the most typically studied of every illuminated books" (van der Horst 24), the writer of which likewise state that "it occupies a prominent position in every handbook or synopsis of the history of west art."

Named because that its ownership in Utecht, where it is maintained in the Universiteitsbibliotheek (MS Bibl. Rhenotraiectinae i Nr. 32), the psalter was, after ~ its rediscovery in the library in ~ Utrecht in 1858, believed for a duration of time to it is in a sixth century work since of the archaic style that its rustic capitals.

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Provenance

"A duration spent in the late ninth century in the area of Metz, probably at the court the Charles the Bald, has actually been argued on the basis of noticeable influences indigenous the manuscript in the arts of the area. The manuscript had actually reached Canterbury Cathedral by c. 1000, at which time a copy began to it is in made of it; this, the Harley Psalter, is in the brother Library as MS Harley 603. The Psalter was copied in complete three time in the center Ages, the 2nd copy gift the Eadwine Psalter (Cambridge, Trinity university Library, multiple sclerosis R.17.1) of 1155–60, with enhancements 1160–70, and also the texts prolonged to five versions of every psalm. The critical copy is a fine variation in complete colour through gold backgrounds the is recognized as the "Anglo-Catalan Psalter" or ms Lat. 8846 in the BnF, that 1180-90 (Morgan, 47-9). This to be half-illustrated by one English artist in about 1180-1200, and also completed by a Catalan artist in 1340-50, naturally using a various Gothic style. The images are necessarily rather simplified, and also the variety of figures reduced.

"Earlier there were derivative works in various other media; similar groups the figures appear in a Carolingian engraved decision in the brothers Museum (the Lothair Crystal, stylistically very different) and also metalwork, and some late Carolingian ivories repeat figure compositions discovered in the Utrecht psalter (Calkins, 211).

"The initial manuscript invested at the very least two centuries at Canterbury native the year 1000, and after the English dissolution of the abbeys (Canterbury was a monastic cathedral) came right into the possession of Robert Bruce Cotton, the famed English antiquary, at which suggest it was rebound, through his eight on the cover. Noodle lent the manuscript to the an excellent collector , the <21st>Earl of Arundel, that took it right into exile through him throughout the English civil War; that was required to the Netherlands in around 1642 and also sold on Howard"s death by his widow and son. It reached Utrecht college in 1716, at which point it was incorporated into the college Library. It to be rediscovered in the library in 1858."

Illumination

"The Utrecht Psalter is generally considered to be crucial to the development of Anglo-Saxon arts in the late tenth century, together the creative style that its artwork seems to have actually been attracted on and adjusted by Anglo-Saxon artist of this time. Although the is hardly likely that this solitary manuscript was specifically responsible for beginning an entire brand-new phase, the layout which developed from it is sometimes known as the "Utrecht" layout of overview drawing, and survived nearly unchanged right into the 1020s (Wormald).

"The Psalter is the earliest and most totally illustrated of a "narrative" team of Carolingian Psalters and other manuscripts; the lot greater flexibility of your illustrations may represent a different, more than likely monastic, audience because that them indigenous the much more hieratic productions because that the court and the altar. Images are unframed, often varied and original in iconography, mirroring a "liveliness that mind and also independence of convention"not found in the an ext formal books. Various other members that the team are the golden Psalter of St. Gall and also the Drogo Sacramentary, which made the vital innovation of placing many illustrations in inhabited initials. The byzantine Chludov Psalter to represent a comparable tradition in the eastern (Hinks, 115-119), and the Reims layout was also influenced by artists fleeing byzantine iconoclasm (Berenson, 163). Meyer Schapiro is amongst those who have proposed the the Psalter duplicated illustrations native a so late Antique manuscript; except an original perhaps that the fourth or fifth centuries, details the the iconography led that to believe in an intermediary Latin model" that after about 700 (Shapiro, 77, 110 and passim). That the miniatures are in big part based on an earlier manuscript, initially questioned by part (Tselos, 334 etc.), appears to have acquired general acceptance, though the precise nature and also dates of earlier postulated execution vary.

A beautiful and authoritative research of the manuscript, put it in ~ context of related works the the time, is van der Horst, Noel, and Wüstefeld (eds.) The Utrecht Psalter in medieval Art. Picturing the Psalms that David (1996). The first facsimile that the Utrecht psalter was released as Latin Psalter in the college Library that Utrecht in 1875. A second printed facsimile was published in Graz, Austria, in 1984.

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In February 2014 a digital facsimile was accessible from the college Library of Utrecht in ~ this link.