Last week I spent some days at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. The college is run by a group of Benedictine monks who also operate the California school where I work, and I was there with a group representing my school.
St. Anselm’s College has on loan a heritage edition of the St. John’s Bible, a modern commission that follows many of the traditional practices for creating an illuminated manuscript. But you’ll see that this is a rather modern version, with a range of artistic styles represented. The original on vellum and done completely by hand is at St. John’s Abbey and University in Minnesota. A printed “heritage” edition of it, which is what we saw, costs a cool $135,000. You can see details about the St. John’s Bible here: St. John’s Bible
But why am I blogging about it? The group I was traveling with enjoyed a curated “tour” of the volume that contains the gospels. Here are the opening pages to the Gospel According to Mark:
When I looked closer, I noticed this detail. Behind Mark are the gilded outlines of the Basilica San Marco in Venice. They are vague impressions rather than sharp depictions, but the Basilica is unmistakable.
For comparison, here’s the Basilica:
I asked the curator, Keith, who has received extensive training in the making of the St. John’s Bible, and he confirmed that the imagery is intentional.
The lion os St Mark is not only seen in Venice. He also lives in the library at St. Anslem’s College.