Sacramentary of Augsburg


This Ottonian manuscript dates from the early 11th century and was executed for the cathedral of Augsburg. It bears all the hallmarks of an ambitious project, but it was left incomplete for some reason. The text alone, interspersed with gold letters on every page, creates an impression of luxury. The prayers for special ecclesiastical fields feature decorated initials with gold tendrils, which stand out against a colored ground. For the principal festivals of Christmas, Easter, and Whitsun, full-page ornamental initials were planned but not finished. Similarly, the pictorial decoration of the manuscript was started and exhibits different stages of completion—from a partially drawn composition (the adoration of the Magi) to a finished drawing on gold ground (a Crucifixion). Gaps left in the text provide evidence of the still-larger pictorial program originally planned. The manuscript belonged to the cathedral of Konstanz and was later preserved in the court library at Donaueschingen. It was acquired by the Bavarian State Library in 1982.

Last updated: August 28, 2015