The Relationship between Illustration, Text and Commentary in the Hamburg Apocalypse, Codex In Scrinio 87. A Manuscript Containing the Revelation John from the State and University Library Hamburg Carl von Ossietzky
The Hamburg Apocalypse is a manuscript from the first quarter of the 14th century. It is a part of the collections of the Hamburg State and University Library. The manuscript contains the text of the Revelation of John with a prologue by Gilbertus Porretanus and it is vividly illustrated. The Hamburg Apocalypse belongs to a small group of German Apocalypses within which it has a unique status. It becomes clear at first glance that the manuscript was created under the influence of various sources. Although the illustrations of the manuscript are clearly made in the German style, the compositions and the selection of some scenes probably refer, among others, to English templates. However, it should be noted that the principles of the organisation of English manuscripts have been greatly transformed in the Hamburg manuscript, which offers a complete new system of visual organisation and interplay of the text with illustrations.
The main goal of this project is to understand and explore the new and innovative concept of the Hamburg cycle and to describe its uniqueness. The focus lays on the relationship between text, image and commentary in the Hamburg cycle. The main task of the project is to determine the connection between the original text of the Revelation of John, the explanatory texts in the banners and the texts between the figures, the selection of certain scenes and the choice of certain iconographic motifs for their representation. Based on defining these relationships, conclusions can be drawn regarding the function of this cycle, the logic of its structure and interpretation of the Revelation of John which the creators of this manuscript wanted to present to the reader/viewer/listener. Furthermore, this project aims to identify text and illustration templates that may have influenced the creation of this cycle. To do so, it will identify criteria for its comparison with other apocalyptic cycles and draw connections between the Hamburg manuscript and potential templates.
Based on this research, the example of the Hamburg manuscript allows examining the perception of the Revelation of John and how it was interpreted in Germany in the 13th and the beginning of the 14th century.