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Posted on Tuesday March 22, 2016

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

Medieval illuminated manuscripts

This is the richest collection of illuminated manuscripts in the Netherlands. Of the approximately 450 illuminated manuscripts, around 300 contain figurative images, whereas the remaining manuscripts are illuminated with painted decorations and/or pen work only.

The total number of images amount to approximately 8,000. They take the form of painted miniatures, drawings, historicised initials or marginal scenes, and comprise all possible topics.

The largest group is constituted by approximately 250 books of hours and prayer books, which are generally illustrated with scenes from the lives of Mary and Christ. Christian themes can further be found in various historical bibles, one of which illustrates the Old and the New Testament with over 500 scenes, and in liturgical manuscripts, which were intended for worship.

Among the remaining illuminated manuscripts, world history, encyclopedias and works of literature figure largely.

Provided by: National Library of the Netherlands