Gospel Book (MS M.640)


Books played a crucial role in establishing networks of power. Over twenty Carolingian manuscripts name Hincmar of Reims as donor, and many more are associated with his patronage. Most were created for use in and around Reims, but their influence was widespread. This Gospel book features two evangelist portraits and the beginnings of a third, all drawn in a distinctly Reimsian style. While to a certain extent unfinished, the heavy use of shading—as evident in this image of the evangelist Luke—suggests that the portraits were never intended to be painted. The artist may have been trained at Reims, but the manuscript itself was produced at an unknown regional scriptorium. The use of brass instead of gold further suggests that the manuscript was not produced at a major center.

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Gospel Book, in Latin
Northeastern France or Belgium (Liège?), late ninth century
The Morgan Library & Museum, MS M.640, fols. 100v–101r
Purchased by J. P. Morgan, Jr., 1919