Text and Image Catalogue © James France

Design/production © John Frederiksen & Bob Cooper

The Image Catalogue consists of over a thousand medieval depictions of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux executed between c. 1135 and c. 1530 and compiled between 1999 and 2019 from materials held in libraries, museums, churches and private collections throughout the world. Many of these images have not previously been reproduced.

My doctoral dissertation from Roskilde University, Denmark in 2002, entitled The Medieval Iconography of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux c 1135- c 1530 was based on the 853 images reproduced in the appended CD-ROM, while the ensuing monograph Medieval Images of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux published by Cistercian Publications in 2007 had 964 images featured on its CD-ROM. The present updated version consists of 1050 images.

Images are arranged alphabetically according to the following medium classification scheme:

DR = Drawing

EN = Engraving

GL = Glass

MA = Manuscript

PA = Painting

SC = Sculpture

VA = Various

WA = Wall Painting

To view the complete collection of 1050 images click here. To open the catalogue description of any image, click on the 'thumbnail' image. To view an enlarged image, click on the 'thumbnail' on the catalogue entry page. Once in the Catalogue, quick access to any image is provided by pressing Ctrl + F and entering the image name in the search box. To return to this page, click Startpage at the top of the overview page.

The catalogue page for each image contains the following information:

The heading - MEDIEVAL IMAGES OF SAINT BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUX - followed by the image name.

Categoryfor example Manuscript
Origin: artist/workshopwhen known
Dateto the nearest quarter century, e.g. 15C/2 = second quarter of the fifteenth century
Reference NoManuscript & folio number or Inventory Number
Sizein centimetres (height x width) - when known
Provenancewhen known
Present LocationTown first, then Library, Museum, or Church
BibliographyPrinted references to the image in abbreviated form: author, date, followed by page number. For full bibliographic details click here.
Illustration FromLibrary, Museum or other source
Other IllustrationsDetails of where else the image may be found
Country of originNot present location. Modern borders cannot always be ascertained (e.g. Flanders may be either modern Belgium or France)
DescriptionDetailed information on, for example, the exact date of the image when it is known. In a few cases, images have been included which may possibly or probably show Bernard. These have been noted as 'Bernard?' at the beginning of the description

The collection is organized into a ten groups under the headings shown in the following table. They are: the earliest images from the 12th century; more early images from the thirteenth century; images from the Life of Bernard; images of Bernard in Dante’s Divine Comedy; images of Bernard in Books of Hours; images of Bernard and the Devil; images of the apocryphal Verses of Bernard; and finally Bernard in the three distinctive scene-attributes: Lactatio or Lactation – Bernard receiving milk from the Virgin’s breast; the Doctrina or Bernard’s vision of the Virgin; and the Amplexus or Bernard receiving the Embrace of the crucified Christ.

The Earliest Images
the 12th Century(14)

More Early Images
the 13th Century(70)

Images from the
Life of Bernard(166)

Bernard in Dante's
Divine Comedy(32)

Bernard in
Books of Hours(138)

Bernard and the Devil(112)

The Verses of Bernard(86)




To safeguard the rights of the owners, most images have been reproduced in low resolution jpeg format. In a few cases it has not been possible to obtain pictures, or permission to reproduce has been reserved by the owners; in these cases catalogue information is provided but no image.

The Catalogue is not definitive. I hope it may open a window to further searches, echoing Saint Bernard’s final words at the end of his very last work, written shortly before his death in 1153: ‘Therefore, let this be the end of the book but not the end of the search’ – Proinde is sit finis libri, sed non finis quaerendi.