Paul's Letter to the Galatians

Title page of Paul speaking to Galatians in an illuminated epistle, circa. 1250-1300. Vellum, Medieval illuminated manuscripts, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Nationale Bibliotheek van Nederland, Fol. 275.

This 13th-century manuscript features the writings of the apostle Paul. This illustration is the first letter of Paul’s Letter to the Galatians. This type of decorative scheme was commonly used on the opening letter in 13th-century manuscripts. Inside the large ornate “P,” we see St. Paul, identified by his halo, delivering his letter to a Galatian. This illustration, painted with primarily blue and red, is somewhat crude compared to some lavish prayer books of the same period. Typically, the page of an illuminated manuscript contained miniature illustrations in addition to an intricate opening letter decorated with bright, often gold, pigment. The margins of the manuscript were typically filled with finely detailed decorative patterns.  

Beginning of Paul’s letter to the Galatians in an illuminated Latin manuscript.

A detailed letter, written in formal prose. Most of the New Testament books beyond the gospels are epistles (letters written to early Christians).

Textual documents, usually handwritten.

Of or relating to the Middle Ages, generally from the fifth century to the fifteenth century C.E. and overlapping somewhat with late antiquity.

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