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Freising Gospels
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Freising Gospels

Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description 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, characterized by quick, sketchy brushwork, 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. It is complete, consisting of 215 folios and includes readings for the liturgical year, Jerome's Plures fuisse and Novum opus letters, decorated canon tables, and Evangelist portraits.
Date Description Narrative
10/06/1977Treatmentloss compensation
  • The Greek Tradition in Painting and the Minor Arts. Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore. 1939.
  • Illuminated Books of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore. 1949.
  • Art in the Book. Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo. 1953-1954.
  • 2,000 Years of Calligraphy. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1965.
  • Medieval Art. Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa. 1965.
  • In Remembrance of Creation: Evolution of Art and Scholarship in the Medieval and Renaissance Bible. Brandeis University Library, Waltham. 1968.
  • 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.
  • Vive la France! French Treasures from the Middle Ages to Monet. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1999-2000.
  • 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.
Provenance Freising, Germany, ca. 865-875; Germany, 19th century; Leon Gruel and Robert Engelmann, Paris, late 19th-early 20th century [mode of acquisition unknown, no.78]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, February 19, 1917 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1917

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2nd half 9th century (Medieval)
ink and pigments on closely cropped parchment, ranges from thin to thick, scrape marks often visible on hair side; thicker parchment on folios with decoration; covered with German or French nineteenth-century purple velvet over coarsely woven blue canvas over beech boards, with vestiges of old manuscript pastedowns (boards probably sixteenth-century)
(Manuscripts & Rare Books)
Accession Number
H: 6 7/8 x W: 4 13/16 in. (17.5 x 12.2 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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