MINIATURIST, German
(active 1175-1188 in Helmarshausen)

Gospels of Henry the Lion

1175-88
Manuscript (Clm. 30055), 340 x 255 mm
Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich

The Gospels of Henry the Lion (Evangeliar Heinrichs des Löwen) was illuminated at Helmarshausen Abbey for Henry the Lion, duke of Saxony (1142-1195), cousin of Frederick Barbarossa. It contains 226 folios with the four gospels in Latin. It is illustrated with 50 full-page miniatures, 84 large and c. 1500 small initials.

This miniature of the ducal couple depicts, in the lower section: the coronation of Henry and Matilda by the hand of God. Behind the kneeling duke we see his father, Henry the Proud and his mother Gertrude as ell as her parents, Emperor Lothar III and his consort Richenza. Matilda is followed by her father, Henry II of England, his mother and an unnamed woman.

In the upper section, the half-length figure of Christ is surrounded by angels and numerous saints associated with the ducal house. In the corner paintings we see, above: Sponsus and Sponza, the bride and groom of the Song of Songs, and below: St Paul and Zachariah.