Leaf from a Gospel Book


This leaf once formed part of a magnificent Gospel book, written and illuminated at Helmarshausen, but perhaps made for the monks at Corvey. Originally positioned at the beginning of Matthew’s Gospel, the leaf features a depiction of Christ embedded within the very first word, Liber (book). Through its inscription (verus in utroque deus extat homoque; “truly he exists as both man and god”), Christ’s scroll emphasizes the dual nature of his incarnation, while the very placement of the figure, inhabiting the sacred text, visualizes the link between Christ and the word of God.

Leaf from a Gospel Book, in Latin
Germany, Helmarshausen, ca. 1190
Cleveland Museum of Art
Purchased on the J. H. Wade Fund, 1933.445