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Leaf from the Reichenau Gospels: An Abbot Presents the Book to Saint Peter
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Leaf from the Reichenau Gospels: An Abbot Presents the Book to Saint Peter


Description Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description The dedication image found at the beginning of this German Gospel Book provides fascinating insights into this manuscript's history. On the left, a figure dressed in rich clerical garb hands a book (indeed, this very book we are looking at) to Saint Peter, the patron saint of the church in which the two figures are standing. The saint, who was traditionally the gatekeeper of Heaven, can be recognized because he holds the door to Heaven in his left hand. The book is intended for the altar behind him, and the hand of God blesses the gift from on high. This Gospel Book is believed to come from the Abbey of Reichenau, on Lake Constance, on the basis of its script and illumination. The decoration of the manuscript places it in the so-called Luithar school of Reichenau. Its ornamental motifs compare very closely with those in Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Clm 4453, and its palette is nearly identical to that in the Reichenau manuscripts of the Bamberg Cathedral Treasury. Gold initials begin each paragraph as well as the introductory words of each chapter; they are a distinct mark of Reichenau manufacture. The manuscript's text is written in Caroline minuscule. As a whole, it is an excellent example of Ottonian book illumination.
Exhibitions
  • Illuminated Manuscripts: Masterpieces in Miniature. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1984-1985.
  • Real People in the Middle Ages: Donor Portraits in Illuminated Manuscripts. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1987.
  • Schatzkammer: Henry Walters' German Manuscripts. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2006.
  • The Saint John's Bible: A Modern Vision through Medieval Methods. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2009.
Provenance Abbey of St. Peter, Reichenau (?), mid-11th century; German Library, 19th century [date and mode of acquisition unknown, no. 203]; Sir Thomas Brooke, Huddersfield, Yorkshire, after 1854 [acquired from the dealer G.I. Ellis, mode of acquisition unknown]; Ingraham Brooke, Sotheby's March 7, 1913, lot 8; Leon Gruel, after 1913 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Henry Walters, Baltimore [date of acquisition unknown], by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters

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Creator
Period
mid 11th century (Medieval)
Medium
ink and paint on thick, white, unpolished parchment
(Manuscripts & Rare Books)
Accession Number
W.7.9V
Measurements
H: 9 1/8 x W: 6 9/16 in. (23.1 x 16.6 cm)
Geographies
Location Within Museum
Not On View

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