Renaissance Library

The library

Roseta
Icono Libro

The library houses about 2000 books dated between the 10th Century and the 18th Century.

Icono Libro

There are 155 Codices

Icono Libro

About 300 incunabula (a lot of them taking into account that they are the first books made with the imprint)

Icono Libro

and about 1050 rare books impressed between the 16th Century and the 18th Century.

The most important books are:

Roseta
Bible

The jewel of the library is this codex one of the rarest codices in the world. It is a Visigothic- Mozarabic Bible. The colophon tells us that was the work of Florencius and Sancho in 960. It is composed by 514 parchment leaves.

The preservation is perfect, no missing leaf, and inside, the colors of the thumbnails still retain vivid. It has more than a hundred thumbnails that represent scenes of the Old Testament. These pictures show us the living of Cristian Iberian kingdoms in the 10th Century: the architecture, the way they dressed, the arms, the plants and the animals. It is called Mozarabic Bible because the monks who made it were mozarabic, they were Christian buts their habits and traditions were Arabians, because they came from the south of Spain, Al-Andalus. That is why the Bible is written in latin language, but the marginal notes are written in arabic.

Códices de Santo Martino

In the 12th Century there was an important scrptorium in Saint Isidoro. It was conducted by Saint Martino, a canon of the monastery and a pilgrim who travelled all over the world. His remains are inside a chapel of the Basilica. We have a Bible made in this scriptorium dated in 1162. It is very well preserved, no missing leaves. It is made in Carolingian script and it is thumbnails are made in “1200 style”. There are some codices ordered by saint Martino that tell us about moral value.

here is a collection of more than 809 historical documents of different types (royal documents, Pope documents, religious or private ones).

The Chapter of Saint Isidoro open its library to researchers with permission .

The architecture of the Library

Roseta
Bóvedas de Crucería Biblioteca

The Library of Saint Isidoro is one of the best examples of renaissance architecture in León. It was built around 1534 by the architect Juan de Badajoz the younger. It was used to keep the wide variety of books of the Capitular library.

LThe ceiling is made of ribber vaults decorated with pendants. In the center of the vault we can see the names of the profets (Daniel Esdras, Ezequiel…etc), skulls, flowers and medallions with the figures of the four evangelists related with Juan de Juni, a French sculptor who studied with Miguel Angel. There is an inscription to praise Saint Isidoro along the walls.

Scriptorium

Roseta
Scriptorium

El scriptorium medieval, solía situarse en una de las pandas del claustro del monasterio a fin de tener una mejor iluminación. En el caso de San Isidoro se encontraba en la Tribuna Real, hoy denominada Cámara de Doña Sancha y fue uno de los scriptorium más importantes de Europa.

Sería su mayor periodo de esplendor el siglo XII en que el ilustre canónigo Santo Martino dirigía el trabajo de miniado y copiado de códices y la elaboración de documentos.

Sabemos por las fuentes que contaba con siete monjes que se dedicaban a tiempo completo a estas labores gracias al sostenimiento económico aportado por la reina Doña Berenguela.

El proceso era muy laborioso y los monjes se dañaban la vista, los brazos y la columna. El propio Santo Martino llegó a colgar brazos y espalda de una viga para poder soportar largas horas en esta tarea.

Scriptorium

Se escribía sobre pergamino, que se obtiene de la vitela del cordero recién nacido, cuidadosamente limpiado y tratado con sosa caustica para eliminar sus impurezas y dejar la superficie totalmente lisa.

Mediante el uso de una pluma o un cálamo, se escribía con la tinta negra que era de origen vegetal. El color rojo se conseguía utilizando minio, lo que da a sus decoraciones la denominación de “miniatura”. También se utilizaban para sus diseños otros colores (azules, verdes...), e incluso metales como el oro o la plata. Posteriormente se encuadernaban en cuero y se cerraban con broches de metal.

Gracias a la pericia de los monjes, en este lugar se realizó la Biblia del S XII, Los Códices de Santo Martino, Los Morales de San Gregorio, Cantorales, Sermones, pero también obras no religiosas como el Fuero Juzgo, Las Siete Partidas, y dentro de la colección diplomática tenemos Cartas de fundación real, de compraventa, Testamentos, Privilegios…etc que hicieron que este lugar llegara a ser considerado Chancillería Real.

Image gallery

Roseta
Royal Panteon Way of Santiago

Plan your visit

Reservation, rules, suggestions for the enjoy of the experience of visiting the museum.