New research project: Byzantine Illuminated Manuscripts in Spain; Artworks, Context and Materiality – MABILUS

Bernard Mulholland, Nazareth Quest (2022).

A pioneering research project, “Byzantine Illuminated Manuscripts in Spain; Artworks, Context and Materiality – MABILUS” (PID2020-120067GB-I00), has been funded by the Ministry of Science and Innovation of the Government of Spain (from September 2021 to September 2024). Its aim is the study of the precious, varied and largely unknown heritage of Byzantine Illuminated Illumination in Spain, from an essentially art-historical perspective and employing an interdisciplinary approach (Philology, Palaeography, Iconography, History of Techniques; History of Collecting). The project is led by prof. Manuel Castiñeiras (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) and involves an international team of researches. The objects of enquiry date from the Byzantine period (to 1453), or immediately afterwards (to 1550). The majority are preserved in the Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid ) and the Real Biblioteca de El Escorial, with some examples in the Biblioteca Universitaria de Salamanca. The project is mainly focused on a novel study of the Skylitzes matritensis (BNE, Vitr. 26-2), in close collaboration with the Instituto del Patrimonio Cultural de España (IPCE), and the Biblioteca Nacional de Madrid. For a better understanding of the genesis of this codex and other controversial artistic issues, a selection of fourteen quires of this codex has been transferred to the IPCE to carry out a systematic analysis of the parchments, pigments, binders, and colouring agents. Laboratory techniques will be used, such as multispectral imaging, infrared reflectography, macro-photography, optical and electron microscopy, as well as the necessary sampling. For further information, please visit the website (in English, Spanish, Catalan):


Author: Dr. Bernard Mulholland

Dr. Bernard Mulholland is a Byzantinist, archaeologist, historian and Patristics scholar with a Ph.D. in history (QUB, 2012). Bernard's publications include: Fiction: Bernard Mulholland, Nazareth Quest (2022). Non-fiction: Bernard Mulholland, The man from MENSA - 1 of 600: Mensa research (2016). ---, The man from MENSA - 1 of the 600: Politics 1990-1995 (2016). ---, Ratio analysis of financial KPI in the Higher Education sector: a case study (2018). ---, Early Byzantine Ireland: a survey of the archaeological evidence (2021). ---, Navan Fort, Ireland: archaeological and palaeoecological analysis (2021). ---, The Early Byzantine Christian Church (Oxford, 2014). ---, 'Identification of Early Byzantine Constantinopolitan, Syrian, and Roman church plans in the Levant and some possible consequences', Patristic Studies in the twenty-first century: proceedings of an international conference to mark the 50th anniversary of the International Association of Patristic Studies, ed. Brouria Bitton-Ashkelony, Theodore de Bruyn and Carol Harrison (Turnhout, 2015), 597-633. Mulholland, B. (2021). 'Can archaeology inform the climate change debate?' Academia Letters, Article4385.

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