The Scheyern Book of Matins

Description

A book of matins contains the readings for the night office in a choir in a monastic community. This accounts for the large format. In this very Book of Matins, written by a monk called Conrad in the monastery of Scheyern, the readings are preceded by a series of non-liturgical texts that reflect the spiritual and economic interests of the monks. What distinguishes the manuscript from others are the two cycles of colored line-drawings: the first focuses on Mary, the patron saint of the monastery. On four folios, she is depicted as co-redeemer; there follow two stories in pictorial form (those of the Pregnant Abbess and of Theophilus), which portray Mary as an intercessor in time of personal need. The second cycle of pictures comprises, with a calendar, seven scenes from the life of Mary, and ends with a representation of Saint Martin and Saint Peter, the other patron saints of Scheyern, and a Madonna in Majesty with a model of the church. At her feet is the abbot, probably Konrad I (1218‒25), who commissioned the book. Stylistically, the pictures in the first cycle are at once lively and monumental, being influenced by contemporary Regensburg-Prüfening illumination, while those in the second represent the so-called "serrated style," showing the influence of both the Middle Rhineland and Byzantine traditions. In 1803, the book came to Munich in the course of the dissolution of the Benedictine monastery of Scheyern.

Last updated: October 17, 2017