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liber floridus (1121), the world in a book

30.09.2011 08.01.2012
Liber Floridus Stam

In the early twelfth century Lambert, Canon of Saint-Omer (now in French Flanders), compiled an encyclopaedia of the knowledge of his predecessors. In that book entitled Liber Floridus he describes the world and the cosmos, and man’s life within that greater whole. His own contribution was mainly in the fields of cosmography, geography and cartography.

Lambert illustrated his findings with colourful miniatures which help make this medieval encyclopaedia a truly superb piece of work. He was drawing maps of the world four centuries before cartography became a discipline in its own right. And, yes, the earth was... round!

A world-famous manuscript, the Liber Floridus is recognized by the Flemish Community as a masterpiece. It derives from St Bavo’s Abbey in Ghent and is now part of Ghent University Library’s collection.

In the exhibition at STAM, scientific insights into this mediaeval masterpiece take the form of a fascinating story. Thanks to precious illuminated manuscripts from the late-eighth to the twelfth centuries loaned by institutions in Belgium and abroad, the Liber Floridus can be shown alongside its sources and works by Lambert’s contemporaries.

The ambulatory and Gothic refectory of the former Bijloke Abbey with its fourteenth-century wall paintings provide a fitting setting for this feast of medieval knowledge and cartography.

in association with the departments of Geography (Faculty of Sciences), Archaeology, History and Literature (Faculty of Arts) and Ghent University Library.

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