Sub-project: Switzerland’s illuminated treasures
March 2020 - November 2020
Status: In progress
Description: The exhibitions celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of the e-codices project, the Swiss platform for the digitisation of manuscripts. In this connection, both collections are showing highlights from their own holdings as well as a large number of valuable loans from other libraries participating in the e-codices programme.
All Libraries and Collections
Pontifical missal of St. Gall Abbot Ulrich Rösch (1463-1491). The manuscript consists of two parts: the first part (p. 5-102) was written by the Wiblingen conventual Simon Rösch, the second part (p. 103-236) was perhaps not added until after the death of Abbot Ulrich Rösch. Only the prefaces (p. 83-102) have melodies in German plainsong notation ("Hufnagelnotation") on 5 lines. There is also the abbot’s coat of arms (p. 5) and an image of the crucifixion with medallions of the four evangelists (p. 70). Several pages have book decorations in the form of borders and initials, sometimes with gold leaf.
Online Since: 10/07/2013
Deluxe manuscript for the celebration of the Mass in the monastery of St. Gall, dating from 1050/70, containing sequences of the St. St. Gall monk "Notker the Stammerer" (died 912).
Online Since: 12/31/2005
Book of hours, composed for an unknown female convent in the diocese of Basel: excellent example of early Gothic book art. With a Calendar, 14 miniatures of the life of Christ and Mary, the Psalter, Canticles and an All Saints' Litany.
Online Since: 06/12/2006
This is a collection of liturgical works from the monastery of Disentis, written in the second half of the 12th century, most likely around 1200. In sequence, the volume contains a calendar (pp. 2-13), a psalter (pp. 15-90) and a hymnary (pp. 91-110), a (mixed) capitulary and collectarium (pp. 116-186), as well as an antiphonary, a lectionary, and a homiliary (pp. 203-638). Highlights from the point of view of manuscript decoration include the initial “B” at the beginning of the psalter (p. 15) and a picture of the crucifixion (p. 89). This breviary is one of the very few surviving medieval manuscripts from the monastery of Disentis. The manuscript came to Kempten around 1300; as early as the 15th century, the Disentis Breviary was held in the Abbey Library of St. Gall.
Online Since: 12/20/2012
Ritual for the personal use of Prince-Abbot of St. Gall Diethelm Blarer (1530−1564; cf. his coat of arms on p. 8 and the stamp for his personal library on p. 7); written by the St. Gall monk Heinrich Keller (1518−1567) and illustrated around 1555 by an unknown illuminator from the area of Lake Constance. The St. Gall manuscripts Cod. Sang. 357 and Cod. Sang. 439 were illuminated by this same artist at the same time. The small-format volume contains liturgical texts on the administration of the sacrament of baptism (pp. 9-107), on the readmission of a woman into the circle of believers after giving birth (pp. 107-114), on marriage (pp. 114-141), as well as on the distribution of wine on October 16th, the feast day of Saint Gall, the founder of St. Gall (pp. 144a-154).
Online Since: 09/23/2014
This manuscript of collected items with twelve historiated initials and prayers in the German language was written by Dorothea von Hof (1458-1501), daughter of Heinrich Ehinger and Margarethe von Kappel. The codex contains the Officium parvum BMV as well as assorted prayers (mainly Marian prayers and prayers from the Passion of Christ), the Hundert Betrachtungen ("Hundred Meditations") from the Büchlein der ewigen Weisheit ("Book of Eternal Wisdom") by Henry Suso, and prayers ascribed to Thomas Aquinas. This manuscript on paper, completed in 1483, was presumably owned by the sisters of the Dominican cloister of St. Katharina in St. Gall, of which Dorothea von Hof is listed as a patroness.
Online Since: 12/21/2010
The Directorium perpetuum of the monastery of St. Gall, commissioned by Abbot Franz von Gaisberg (1504–1529), consists of seven volumes (Cod. Sang. 533–539). A total of 36 regulae contain the liturgical rules for the Liturgy of the Hours for all possible annual calendars, due to the variable date of Easter. Each rule begins with Epiphany. Cod. Sang. 539 contains the seven possible rules for the holidays of the Christmas season (which do not depend on the date of Easter) until the Vigil of Epiphany. The illumination of the manuscript is by Nikolaus Bertschi from Rorschach and an assistant: on p. 4 a full-page miniature, on pp. 5, 21, 37, 53, 69, 85 and 101 initials in opaque colors (partly on a background of gold leaf) with scrolls or richly decorated borders. This volume was written by Fridolin Sicher, St. Gallen cathedral organist.
Online Since: 09/26/2017
Manuscript compilation containing a collection of fables (Ulrich Boner's Edelstein), decorated with simple pen drawings, farcical stories – preserved only here – by the so-called "Swiss Anonymous" as well as chronicle notes on the history of Zurich and Glarus.
Online Since: 12/12/2006
Important early textual witness of the Decretum Gratiani, probably even the earliest known version. As opposed to the later widespread version of 101 Distinctiones (Part I), 36 Causae (Part II) and De consecratione (Part III) with ca. 4000 Canones in all, the Decretum in this manuscript consists of only 33 Causae with ca. 1000 Canones. The numbering, however, was soon adapted to the later commonly used division into 36 Causae and preceding distinctions. This version includes some sections of text not found in later versions. The Decretum is followed by an extremely heterogeneous collection of excerpts.
Online Since: 12/12/2006
This manuscript, illustrated with numerous colored pen drawings, originated in a secular environment in Southern Germany or in Switzerland around the middle of the 15th century. It describes the signs of the zodiac, the planets, the four temperaments, and the four seasons regarding their influence on human health. This is followed by dietary guidelines primarily regarding bloodletting, but also regarding eating, drinking, sleeping, waking, resting and moving, as well as, in concrete terms, regarding bathing (illustration p. 101) or defecating (illustration p. 120). Most likely an amateur doctor with an interest in astronomy, from the Southern region of Germany, wrote the original text around 1400 and assembled it into a compendium. Later the text was repeatedly supplemented and modified. The last part (from p. 128 on) contains a prose and a poem version of the so-called letter from Pseudo-Aristotle to Alexander the Great, in which the Greek universal scholar advises the king on maintaining good health.
Online Since: 09/23/2014
This manuscript, probably not written in St. Gall, contains Cicero’s Topica on pp. 1-21 (defective at the end), and Boethius’ commentary on that work on pp. 21-216. On the inside of the front cover, one can discern the negative impression of a page from the Edictum Rothari (Cod. Sag. 730, p. 17).
Online Since: 12/13/2013
This manuscript (also called the “St. Galler Epenhandschrift”) is written in two columns in a very uniform manner by three anonymous primary scribes and four secondary scribes; it offers a fine version of a unique collection of Middle High German heroic and knightly poetry. It contains “Parzival” (pp. 5−288; version D) by Wolfram von Eschenbach, the Song of the Nibelungs (pp. 291−416; version B) with the following lament (pp. 416−451; version B), the poem “Karl der Grosse” (pp. 452−558; version C) by der Stricker, the verse narrative “Willehalm” (pp. 561−691; version G) by Wolfram von Eschenbach, as well as five sung gnomic verses by Friedrich von Sonnenburg (p. 693; version G). Until 1768, when the manuscript was purchased by the Monastery of St. Gall, this volume certainly also contained fragments of the epic poems “Die Kindheit Jesu” by Konrad von Fussesbrunnen and Unser vrouwen hinvart by Konrad von Heimesfurt. These two works were removed from the manuscript of epic poems before 1820 and are now held in the Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz in Berlin (mgf 1021) and the Badische Landesbibliothek in Karlsruhe (Cod. K 2037), respectively. The manuscript, illustrated with 78 uniformly executed initials by unknown artists from the miniature painting school of Padua, was commissioned by a wealthy client who was interested in Middle High German epic poems. The first owner known by name was the Swiss polymath and universal scholar Aegidius Tschudi (1505−1572) from Glarus, whose estate of manuscripts the Monastery of St. Gall was able to acquire in 1768.
Online Since: 10/08/2015
School manuscript for the St. Gall monastery school, containing the Greek grammar by Dositheus and a prose version of Aratos of Soloi's didactic poem Phainomena which is illustrated with a pen drawing.
Online Since: 09/14/2005
Abbot Otmar Kunz’s (1564−1577) small format prayer book, with several pages of rich decoration (flowers, vines, animals), was written and illustrated in 1574 by unknown artists. Especially noteworthy are two full page miniatures. On p. 4, Abbot Otmar Kunz, dressed in ceremonial regalia, kneels in a landscape with a city, hills and trees, above him is God with the terrestrial globe and with his hand raised in blessing. On p. 10, the St. Gall abbot, dressed in a simple monk’s habit, kneels with Mary and John beneath the Cross of Christ. The prayer book contains (from p. 11 on) the so-called 5 Passion Psalms (Ps 22, 31, 55, 69, 109). These are followed by the 15 Gradual Psalms, the vigil for the deceased, as well as the 7 Penitential Psalms with the Litany of the Saints. After the death of Abbot Otmar, a scribe with the initials FVF added a prayer (pp. 105−109); probably this was Brother Ulpianus Fischer from Überlingen, who joined the Abbey of St. Gall in 1583. In 1594, the former abbot’s prayer book belonged to St. Gall monk Georg Spengler († 1609), who was born in Wil. In 1599 the manuscript received its current binding with blind stamp decoration.
Online Since: 06/22/2017
Collected Fragments Volume I from the Abbey Library of St. Gall ("Veterum Fragmentorum manuscriptis codicibus detractorum collectio tomus primus"). The volume contains, among many varied single pages and fragmentary texts, fragments from the Aeneid and the Georgics by Vergil from the late 4th century which are significant to textual history (11 pages and 8 small strips), 17 smaller and larger bits of text from a pre-Vulgate Vetus-Latina version of the Gospels from the early 5th century, fragments of a copy of the comedies of Terence from the 10th century, documents from the 9th through 15th centuries, small fragments in Hebrewscript, and the "St. Galler Glauben und Beichte II" (formulas for shrift or confession, together with professions of faith from the 11th century). Pater Ildefons von Arx (1755-1833) assembled this composite volume in the year 1822 and dedicated it to his former supervisor, Abbey Librarian Pater Johann Nepomuk Hauntinger (1756-1823).
Online Since: 07/31/2009
Dominican breviary for nuns, probably written in Southern Germany. The script and decoration follow 14th century models, but the presence of the saints St. Vincent Ferrer (canonized 1453/54) and St. Catherine of Siena (canonized 1461) suggest an origin not before the second half of the 15th century. Numerous initials with gold leaf and scroll ornamentation, illuminated borders on p. 21 and 168 (two dogs, misericordia and Justicia, hunting a stag, Verbum patris). This volume is from the convent of Dominican nuns of St. Katharina auf dem Nollenberg near Wuppenau (Thurgau); according to a note of ownership, it was the property of the convent at least since the 17th century. Since 1930 it has been a deposit of the episcopal library of St. Gall at the Abbey Library.
Online Since: 12/14/2018
Breviary in two volumes, created in 1493 for Jost von Silenen († 1498), the Bischop of Sion from 1482 until his dismissal in 1497. Richly decorated, the miniatures are the work of an itinerant artist active in Fribourg, Bern and Sion during the final decades of the 15th century and known by the name Master of the breviary of Jost von Silenen. At the beginning of the 16th century, he continued his work in Aosta and Ivrea, where he took the name Master of George of Challant.
Online Since: 12/20/2016