Jumièges, c. 1080
238 f. 486 x 342 mm.

Bibliothèque municipale de Rouen, ms. 8 ( A 6)

At the head of a major series of manuscripts, often showing the same drawing in red ink, Jumièges bible seems to have been executed during the period of abbot Gontard (1078-1095), at the beginning of his incumbency as abbot. As a seminal work of monastic illumination in Normandy, this Bible had a fundamental renewing influence on the decorative designs of the period in the field of ornamented letters.
Abandoning the abstract designs inherited from the Carolingian dropped initials of the Franco-Saxon school, the artist introduced "natural" elements: plant stems, foliage, animals and human figures (folio 2 v° and 204 v°). These motifs, which had already been used at Mont-Saint-Michel at the beginning of the 11th century, are reminiscent of the experiments of the famous Psalter of Corbie, dating from c. 800.
A number of historiated letters are evidence of a renewed interest in the illustration of sacred texts. In folio 142 v°, the letter U in the word Verbum presents the prophet Micah preaching. In folio 235 v°, the A in Adam is inhabited by three lions who guard its extremities. The horizontal bar of the letter consists of interlacing patterns in which a man is enclosed sitting cross-legged.