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Incipit page for the Gospel of St. John
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Incipit page for the Gospel of St. John

Description Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description During the early Medieval period, artists created sophisticated interplays between word and image. Often, the opening words of each Gospel would be intricately decorated, with the ornament and letters intertwined. Although the Medieval viewer would know what it should say and had no need to read it, deciphering the page, and thereby focusing attention on the sacred word of God, became an act of spiritual contemplation.
  • Illuminated Manuscripts: Masterpieces in Miniature. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1984-1985.
  • Schatzkammer: Henry Walters' German Manuscripts. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2006.
  • Checkmate! Medieval People at Play. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2010.
Provenance Written in the Monastery of Corvey on the Weser River in Germany ca. 940-975, during the reign of Otto I [based on style and paleography]; [Originally part of a Gospel Book belonging to the Chapter Library of the Cathedral of Rheims until the French Revolution, now Ms. 10 in the Rheims Municipal Library]; Sir Thomas Phillips, London, ca. 1855 [mode of acquisition unknown] [Ms. 14122, noted on bottom of fol. 1r]; A. Chester Beatty, December 1920, acquired privately from Phillips collection; Walters Art Museum, October 1952, by purchase [from Mrs. Chester Beatty through Maggs Brothers].
Credit Museum purchase, 1952

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ca. 950-975 (Ottonian)
ink and pigments on thick parchment, with suede surface on flesh side
(Manuscripts & Rare Books)
Accession Number
H: 12 5/16 x W: 9 1/2 in. (31.2 x 24.2 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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