Birgittinska bönboksbilder

  • Eva Lindqvist Sandgren Department of Art History, Uppsala University, Sweden


A group of prayer books in the written material from the late mediaeval Vadstena Abbey that still survives once contained pictorial programmes which have now been more or less lost or destroyed. Some of the manuscripts still contain miniatures, painted or pasted in at their original places on the parchment pages, but many images have disappeared. In many cases traces of frames or other indications on the pages reveal where the lost images were once placed. The miniatures that have been preserved show a very close connection to the adjacent rubrics. The discernable distribution of the images together with a close reading of the texts makes tentative reconstruction of the lost pictorial programmes of these prayer books possible. – The analysis shows that seven of the twelve prayer books studied originally contained only a few images. The pictorial programmes of the other five manuscripts had between nine and twenty images. The iconography of these Birgittine prayer books do not emphasise Saint Birgitta or her daughter Katarina visually. Instead, there is a clear emphasis on pictorial themes that were important to late mediaeval spirituality, subjects related to the Holy Virgin, the Passion of Christ and indulgences.
How to Cite
LINDQVIST SANDGREN, Eva. Birgittinska bönboksbilder. ICO Iconographisk Post. Nordisk tidskrift för bildtolkning – Nordic Review of Iconography, [S.l.], n. 2, p. 19-49, june 2014. ISSN 2323-5586. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 15 june 2024.


Vadstena Abbey, Birgittine prayer books, pictorial program, medieval spirituality, Birgittine spirituality, Saint Birgitta, book illumination, late mediaeval iconography