Reichenau Gospels


This mid-11th century Gospel Book is believed to come from the Abbey of Reichenau, on Lake Constance in Germany, 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. The work includes full-page miniatures of Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and of the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to each of the four Evangelists. Gold uncials 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. It is paleographically related to Bamberg, Staatsbibliothek, Mss. Bibl. 76 and Bibl. 22, and also to Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Clm. 4454. As a whole, it is an excellent example of Ottonian book illumination. The Ottonian period takes its name from Otto I, Otto II, and Otto III, German kings and Holy Roman Emperors of the Saxon dynasty who ruled during the 10th and early 11th centuries.

Last updated: April 30, 2014