Gospels for the Year


This lavishly illuminated manuscript represents a fine example of a gospel lectionary, a liturgical book that—in contrast to the usual gospel books containing the full texts of the gospels—comprises only those parts of the gospels that are used for the liturgical readings during the ecclesiastical year, presented in chronological order. The manuscript’s miniatures display the main events in the life of Jesus Christ, which correspond to the main religious feasts: from Nativity to Ascension to the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. All the miniatures are decorated with a splendid gilt ground and are framed with richly painted silver bands. The style and coloring of the miniatures follow a Bavarian tradition of book illumination, the so-called Bavarian monastic school. Because the liturgical feast days of Saint Alto and the patron saints of Altomünster, Saint Peter and Saint Paul, are particularly emphasized, it can be concluded that the manuscript was intended for Altomünster Abbey. It therefore belongs probably to a particular group of codices that were created in the scriptorium of Tegernsee on behalf of other monasteries. In 1489 the manuscript was adorned with a lavish metal cover with semi-precious stones and rock crystals. The engraving on the front depicts one of Saint Alto's miracles; on the back can be seen the monogram of Jesus, IHS.

Last updated: August 28, 2015