The Evangelist Luke
Gospel Book, in Latin
Purchased by J. P. Morgan, Jr., 1927
The most distinctive and influential center of Carolingian illumination was Reims, which flourished during the reigns of Charlemagne and his successors. This, the only Reims Gospel Book written in gold, is the finest of the Morgan's dozen Carolingian manuscripts. St. Remi was then under the brilliant leadership of Archbishop Hincmar (845–82), counselor of Emperor Charles the Bald (r. 840–77), grandson of Charlemagne. As is usual in illustrated Gospel Books, a "portrait" of an Evangelist precedes each of the four Gospels. Such author portraits were derived from antique models; here Luke wears a Roman toga and holds a basket containing scrolls, the standard book form in antiquity.