Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Godescalc Gospels

I've been researching illuminated Carolingian manuscripts lately, and I came across these lovely pictures of the Godescalc Gospels, named after the Frankish scribe responsible. There are five illuminations which were created in the scriptorium in or near Charlemagne's palace at Aachen between 781-783 AD.

A youthful Christ is shown with brown long hair, common also for early Anglo-Saxon portraits. For the Franks, the hair style may have recalled ancient royalty, since the first Merovingian kings were known  for wearing their hair long.

The panel to the left which prefaces a coppery page of scripture shows the "Fountain of Life," from which all creation springs forth. Behind the encircling pillars you have to imagine a round fountain of spring water.