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Leaf from the Freising Gospels: Portrait of the Evangelist Matthew
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Leaf from the Freising Gospels: Portrait of the Evangelist Matthew


Description Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description The Evangelist Matthew is seated on a cushioned bench, his pen poised to write in a book supported by an elaborate animal-shaped lectern. He looks for inspiration to his symbol, the winged man. Matthew's drapery, which is drawn from the tradition of classical author portraits, cascades around him, lending the figure a sense of nervous energy as he prepares to write, an energy that is echoed in the tumultuous red and orange clouds behind him. This Gospel Book was written in the diocese of Freising, Germany, ca. 875. Surprisingly small for a Gospel Book, it is nonetheless richly illuminated and offers an excellent example of Carolingian art and Caroline minuscule script. The expressive and emotive quality of the Evangelist portraits recalls the style developed by the Carolingian school of Reims in northern France. The canon tables, however, derive from a different tradition, and recall Franco-Saxon imagery in their use of interlace within the columns and of acanthus springing from the top corners. The manuscript is one of a small group of codices produced at Freising at this time, among them another Gospel Book, Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Clm 6215.
Exhibitions
  • Illuminated Manuscripts: Masterpieces in Miniature. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1984-1985.
  • The Book and the Author: Portraits of the Evangelists in Eastern and Western Manuscripts. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1990-1991.
Provenance Freising, Germany, ca. 865-875. Unknown owner, Germany, 19th century. Leon Gruel and Robert Engelmann, Paris, late 19th-early 20th century [1]; purchased by Henry Walters, Baltimore, February 19 1917; by bequest to Walters Art Museum, 1931. [1] no.78
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters

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Creators
Period
2nd half 9th century (Medieval)
Medium
ink and paint on parchment
(Manuscripts & Rare Books)
Accession Number
W.4.33V
Measurements
H: 6 7/8 x W: 4 13/16 in. (17.5 x 12.2 cm)
Geographies
Location Within Museum
Not On View

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