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Collections | Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

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The Evangelist Luke
Gospel Book, in Latin
France, Reims, ca. 860
303 x 258 mm
Purchased by J. P. Morgan, Jr., 1927; MS M.728 (fol. 94v)
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The most distinctive and influential center of Carolingian illumination was Reims, which flourished during the reigns of Charlemagne and his successors. This, the only Reims Gospel Book written in gold, is the finest of the Morgan's dozen Carolingian manuscripts. St. Remi was then under the brilliant leadership of Archbishop Hincmar (845–82), counselor of Emperor Charles the Bald (r. 840–77), grandson of Charlemagne. As is usual in illustrated Gospel Books, a "portrait" of an Evangelist precedes each of the four Gospels. Such author portraits were derived from antique models; here Luke wears a Roman toga and holds a basket containing scrolls, the standard book form in antiquity.

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.