The Rule of Saint Benedict, from the Abbey of Metten


Together with the Biblia pauperum (Paupers' Bible), Abbot Petrus I of the Benedictine Abbey of Metten in Bavaria commissioned another outstanding manuscript, known as the Mettener Regel (literally, The Metten Rule, referring to the rule of Saint Benedict as practiced at the Abbey of Metten) in both Latin and German versions. The abbot had the illuminators, whose style, as in the Biblia pauperum, shows signs of Bohemian influence, paint in color scenes from the life of Saint Benedict at the openings of the chapters. The model for the work was the verse life of Benedict by Pope Gregory the Great (circa 540–604), called the Bis-bini-Vita after its opening line. The variation in the backgrounds of the illustrations—in some cases landscape and in others ornamental—is noteworthy and heralds a fresh stylistic development. The sequence of illustrations was never completed: in the second part of the manuscript, some of the colored miniatures are half-finished or remain mere preparatory sketches. These unfinished works-in-progress offer interesting insights into the painting techniques of the workshop. The manuscript is at the Bavarian State Library in Munich, Germany.

Last updated: August 28, 2015