Title: Worship before the Throne of God
Medium: Illuminated Manuscript
Size: 29.5 x 20.4 cm
Date: c. 1020
The Book of Revelation, also called the Revelation of St. John, the Apocalypse of John, is considered to be one of the most controversial and difficult books of the Bible, with many diverse interpretations of the various names and events in the account. In the fourth century, Gregory of Nazianzus and other bishops argued against including this book in the New Testament canon, chiefly because of the difficulties of interpreting it and the danger for abuse. Regardless, Revelation was a powerful message of hope for those early Christians who had to suffer or die for their faith.
The entire 4th chapter of Revelation is a vision of the throne room of God. God is the chief and primary subject in view pictured as being seated on a throne. The language describing Him paints a picture of glory, power, and majesty: “the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne.” Various heavenly creatures and retainers praised God as flashes of lightning and roars of thunder came out from the throne.
The Bamberg Apocalypse is a richly illuminated manuscript containing the Book of Revelation, and a Gospel Lectionary containing lessons from the Gospels for use in liturgy. The Bamberg Apocalypse was commissioned by Otto III, and is among the most marvelous illuminated medieval manuscripts and the only illustrated cycle of the Apocalypse produced by Ottonian book painting. The leading scriptorium of the empire endowed the manuscript with imperial luxury: 57 miniatures on gilded ground and over 100 golden initials ornate its 106 leafs. After the early and unexpected death of the emperor at the age of 21, the codex remained unfinished for some time in the scriptorium of Reichenau before his successor Henry II ordered the manuscript to be finished.