MINIATURIST, German
(active around 810 in Aachen)

Lorsch Gospels

c. 810
Manuscript, 374 x 271 mm
Biblioteca Documenta Batthyaneum, Alba Julia, Romania

The Latin codex contains the four gospels and two letters from St Jerome. There are 5 full-page miniatures and 12 canon tables. The codex is divided: gospels according to St Luke and St John in Biblioteca Apostolica, Vatican (Pal. lat. 50); gospels according to St Mark and St Matthew in Biblioteca Documenta Batthyaneum, Alba Julia, Romania.

Each of the four Gospels begins with a title page and an initial page. Of these the opening of St Matthew is given special prominence. It alone adopts the Insular tradition of a full-page initial. While this format along with decorative details like the interlace patterns clearly demonstrate the influence of the Insular tradition, a comparison of this page to the corresponding page from the Book of Kells indicates different approaches to book design. Ornamental details like the decorative motifs in the outer border, derived from metalwork, along with the painted copies of Antique gems clearly demonstrate how the manuscript is a mixing of Insular and Classical traditions.

The picture shows page 20, the opening of St Matthew.