Jeweled upper cover of the Lindau Gospels
Court School of Charles the Bald
Lindau Gospels, in Latin
Switzerland, Abbey of St. Gall, late ninth century
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1901
A large gold repoussé Crucifixion dominates this jeweled cover. Surrounding Christ are ten mourning figures: below the arms of the cross are the Virgin and John and probably Mary Magdalene and Mary, the wife of Cleopas. The cover's architectural features allude to the jeweled Heavenly Jerusalem, the city made possible by Christ's sacrifice. This cover and that of the Codex Aureus from St. Emmeram in Regensburg, now in Munich, are the two finest Carolingian jeweled bindings. Charles the Bald was the grandson of Charlemagne; the cover may have been made at the Royal Abbey of St. Denis, where Charles was secular abbot from 867 until his death in 877.