Sacramentary of Henry II


This sacramentary was written for Henry II (973–1024) before he was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 1014. It was executed by a workshop in Ratisbon (present-day Regensburg). There the influence of the Carolingian model of the Codex aureus, a ninth-century gospel written for Emperor Charles the Bald and preserved in the monastery of Saint Emmeram, was a crucial stimulus for the Ottonian school of illumination 100 years later. The picture of the emperor closely resembles that of the earlier exemplar, but was adapted to the current political situation by the addition of more provinces in attendance. It is preceded by an image of the coronation by Christ of the emperor. The text of the sacramentary is introduced by a portrait of Saint Gregory; other miniatures frame the Canon missae. An unusual illumination is the picture of the women at the sepulcher, which completes the Crucifixion before the Te igitur (the first prayer of the mass, which begins Te igitur clementissime Pater [Thee, therefore, most merciful Father]). On the front cover the binding is decorated with an ivory depicting the Crucifixion which is related to that of a gospel book from Bamberg. On the back cover a portrait of Saint Gregory in silver is part of the original binding. The last member of the Ottonian dynasty, Henry became king of Germany in 1002. He was canonized in 1146 and is also known as Saint Henry.

Last updated: August 28, 2015