The Vienna Coronation Gospels represent one of the most beautiful manuscripts of the Middle Ages and a major work of court art at the time of Charlemagne. The book consists of 236 purple-dyed vellum leaves with text written in gold and silver ink. Each of the four Gospels begins with a painted portrait of the respective Evangelist. They are executed in a quick and sure hand, creating the illusion of a framed panel painting. The purple background of the page appears to be a dark wall, while the borders around the authors' portraits serve as picture frames enclosing a free space filled with light. The type of depiction of these writing figures clad in white, classic garments is in keeping with ancient portraits of authors, and these extremely illusionist pictures are indebted to the painting of late antiquity in style as well. Thus it has been assumed that a foreigner - probably a Greek - created this outstanding work of the Carolingian Renaissance around 800 at the court in Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle). Because the future emperor swore his oath on this book, touching the beginning of the Gospel of John with the fingers of his hand, it is called the Coronation Gospels. In around 1500 the Coronation Gospels received a precious new binding of gilt silver on which is depicted, chased in high relief, the figure of God the Father, his hand raised in blessing, surrounded by the rich canopy architecture of his throne in late-Gothic style. Dressed in the imperial vestments and a mitred crown, he appears as an archetypical ideal of a ruler, while his facial features resemble those of Charlemagne, whom all later emperors of the Holy Roman Empire saw as their predecessor.
knapp vor 800, um 1500
236 purpurgefärbte Pergamentblätter, goldene und silberne Tinte, Deckfarben; Einband: Silber, vergoldet, Edelsteine
Codex: 32,4 cm × 24,9 cm
Einband: 34,5 cm
Aachener Beschau; R 3, Nr.30 (Schließe)
Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Weltliche Schatzkammer
Schatzkammer, WS XIII 18
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