This Gospel book from Weihenstephan in Bavaria, created circa 1170−80, represents a late example of the art of book illumination as it was practiced in the scriptorium of Tegernsee Abbey in the 11th and early 12th century. The scriptorium of Tegernsee Abbey was held in high esteem during that time, as a surviving letter from Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I (circa 1123−90) proves. Praising the reputation of the scriptorium, he commissioned two manuscripts, which unfortunately have not been preserved. With its decoration and style of the initials and the paintings of the evangelists as well as its nine-page canon tables, this manuscript shows typical traits of the Tegernsee school, also known as the Bavarian monastic school. Many of these traits are slightly varied, enriching its characteristic features. A remarkable distinction can be seen in the paintings of the evangelists, who are displayed—as it was customary in Tegernsee—within a narrow architectural frame. In contrast to rather traditional versions, they interact with their respective symbols (angel, lion, bull, and eagle). This pattern follows examples of Carolingian art from two centuries earlier. According to scholars, this particular style is also found in some manuscripts created in other Bavarian scriptoria in the period after 1150.

Last updated: August 28, 2015