Gospel Book (Fragment)


These fragmentary leaves once formed part of a Gospel book given to Reims Cathedral. Otto I’s younger brother Bruno (925–965) was not only duke of Lotharingia and archbishop of Cologne, but also regent of France during this period. He had a particularly strong interest in Reims and perhaps played a role in the donation of this manuscript. The title page for Luke’s Gospel, at left, demonstrates how painters could simulate precious materials. Four fictive enamel medallions occupy most of the page. Filling the spaces between the medallions, the golden text takes on the form of a cross. The facing page features a large initial Q framed by a fictive enamel border, seemingly lined with pearls. The unusually painted vegetal motifs in the corners of each page evoke carved gems (intaglios).

Gospel Book (Fragment), in Latin
Germany, Corvey, ca. 950–70
Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, MS W.751, fols. 1v–2r
Purchased, 1952