Ostromir Gospel

Gospel of John

Gospel of John.
1850s - early 1860s. Copyist: Princess Leonilla Menshikova. Artists: G. Gagarin, F. Solntsev, L. Premazzi, . Peshekhonov, unknown French artists.

F (235 290). 65 leaves.
Paper. Tempera, water-colours, gold.

It is written in imitation of a synodal script.

Each leaf of the manuscript bears pictures, borders, pictorial compositions.

The canonical text of the Gospel of John was copied by Princess Leonilla Menshikova, she also illuminated several leaves. Each leaf of the Gospel is finely decorated with use of gold. Miniatures, executed in tempera and water-colours, illustrate scenes in the Bible. Some subjects in the design of the manuscript refer to its owner: a portrait of Princess Leonilla, her initials, interiors and views of private residences belonging to the Menshikovs. Outstanding Russian artists of those days took part in embellishing the book. Among them are the vice-president of the Academy of Arts G. Gagarin (1810-1893), members of the Academy, professors F. Solntsev (1801-1892) and L. Premazzi (1814-1894), the head of the icon painting shop . Peshekhonov (1792-1852), as well as unknown French artists, who were unnamed in the manuscript. The codex imitates medieval books. Old Russian styles of illumination were combined with West European and Oriental ornamental patterns. Styles supplement each other, forming the whole artistic design of the book.

In 1887 the manuscript was given to the Imperial Public Library by Adjutant-General V. A. Menshikov, the husband of Leonilla Menshikova, after her death according to her will.

Shelfmark: . Q.I.932.

© The National Library of Russia, 2007