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The Mondsee Gospels and Treasure Binding with the Evangelists and Crucifixion
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The Mondsee Gospels and Treasure Binding with the Evangelists and Crucifixion


Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description This eleventh-century Gospel Lectionary was written in a clear Carolingian minuscule in Regensburg, Germany. Its remarkable treasure binding, which is original to the manuscript, is extremely fragile due to the Byzantine or Islamic silk that constitutes the spine; therefore it is not possible to image the entire manuscript. The cover, which alone has been photographed, is a rare survival and a rich example of Ottonian art. Bound in silver, the front cover displays an impressive mastery of filigree, segments of which have been gilded. A variety of textures and substances, including niello bosses in the corners, ivory plaques depicting the four Evangelists, gemstones (now lost), and a golden image of the Crucifixion beneath a polished rock crystal, give the cover an opulence rarely seen in medieval bookbinding. The back cover, necessarily flat to lie on the altar without damaging the decoration, consists of a sheet of hammered and gilded silver, engraved with an image of St. Michael slaying a dragon. This image has traditionally led to an association with the abbey of SS. Peter and Michael in Mondsee, Austria, but its more recent attribution to Otloh, a scribe active in Regensburg, suggests that it is more likely of German manufacture.
Conservation
Date Description Narrative
9/27/1983Treatmentexamined for exhibition
11/11/1985Treatmentrepaired
Exhibitions
  • Liturgical Objects in The Walters Art Gallery. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1967.
  • 4000 Years of Modern Art. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore. 1953-1957.
  • The History of Bookbinding 525-1950 A.D.. Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore. 1957-1958.
  • 2,000 Years of Calligraphy. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1965.
  • Splendor in Books. Grolier Club, New York; The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1977-1978.
  • Ivory: The Sumptuous Art. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1983-1984.
  • Illuminated Manuscripts: Masterpieces in Miniature. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1984-1985.
  • Regensburger Buchmalerei: Von fr├╝hkarolingischer Zeit bis zum Ausgang des Mittelalters. Museen der Stadt Regensburg, Regensburg. 1987.
  • Judging a Book by its Cover: Fine Bindings. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1988.
  • Covered in Meaning: Book Bindings from The Walters. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1997-1998.
  • Illuminating the Word: Gospel Books in the Middle Ages. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2004.
  • Schatzkammer: Henry Walters' German Manuscripts. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2006.
  • In the Beginning: Bibles Before the Year 1000. Freer Gallery of Art, Washington. 2006-2007.
  • Treasures of Heaven. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland; The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; The British Museum, London. 2010-2011.
Provenance Jacques Rosenthal [art dealer], Munich, early 20th century [mode of acquisition unknown]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, between 1925-1931, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters

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Creators
Period
11th-12th century with later additions and alterations (Medieval)
Medium
ink and pigments on finely prepared parchment bound between oak boards covered with leather, silk damask, silver filigree, gilded panels, ivory, niello, gold leaf, and rock crystal
(Manuscripts & Rare Books)
Accession Number
W.8
Measurements
H: 11 5/8 x W: 9 1/16 x D: 4 1/8 in. (29.6 x 23 x 10.4 cm)
Geographies

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