Gospel Book (MS W.7)


The island monastery of Reichenau was among the most celebrated centers of artistic production during the Ottonian period. Nearly sixty deluxe manuscripts from its scriptorium survive. The vast majority of these commissions were created for export, and the very consistency and longevity of this output attests to a well-organized workshop with a rich supply of models. Belonging to the end of this tradition, this Gospel book opens with a remarkable dedication miniature featuring an unidentified abbot handing the manuscript to St. Peter. As gatekeeper of heaven, Peter holds open a door leading to an altar on which the same book is blessed by the hand of God. By the mid-eleventh century, Reichenau had begun to lose its preferred status as other artistic centers vied for imperial favor.

Gospel Book, in Latin
Germany, Reichenau, ca. 1050
Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, MS W.7, fols. 9vā€“10r
Purchased by Henry Walters, ca. 1913ā€“1931