(active 780s in Aachen)
Manuscript (Ms. nouv. acq. lat. 1203), 310 x 210 mm
Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris
This liturgical book (an evangelistary) contains the pericopes (extracts from the gospels)read out during mass in the course of the church year. The 127 folios are illustrated with six full-page miniatures as well as ornamental decoration used for frames, initials and decorative pages. The manuscript was probably presented to Saint-Sernin in Toulouse by Charlemagne's son, Louis I the Pious (reigned 813-840).
The evangelistary was prepared on the orders of Charlemagne, it was copied by the scribe Godescalc. The emperor had assembled a staff of scribes and miniaturists at his palace in Aachen, and they were responsible for a number of manuscripts, of which the Godescalc Gospels is thought to be the earliest. Eight of the magnificent works produced by this court school have survived entire, along with a fragment of another. The latest of these, the Soissons Gospels and the Lorsch Gospels date from the early ninth century.
The frontispiece on folio 1r shows St Matthew writing his Gospel, apparently seated on a pile of cushions.