The Lindau Gospels are named after the Abbey of Lindau in Germany where they were once kept and is now part of the collection at the Morgan Library and Museum (Medieval Histories, 2016). This illuminated manuscript is decorated with jewels and gold that were from different eras and places. The back portion of the book is considered the oldest and made in Austria whereas the front cover was created in France around 870-80. Silks and jewels were later added to the manuscript from Byzantine periods and the Middle East adding to the mix of cultures in this piece (Medieval Histories, 2016).
The center of the cover of the Lindau Gospels is dominated by a gold crucifix. Around the crucified Christ are ten mourning images which are Mary the mother of Jesus, John, Mary Magdalene, and others. There is also an image of the new Jerusalem that will be restored because of Christ’s death. The cover has jewels of teal, blue, red, white, and pearl with gold being the main substance used. This manuscript can be viewed in New York with new, enhanced lighting to add to its affect (Medieval Histories, 2016).
The Gero Crucifix is a large wooden crucifix currently residing at the Chapel of the Cross in Cologne. It was donated by Archbishop Gero after he repaired a crack in the head of Jesus because it was already consecrated so only a priest or holy-man could repair it (Lauer, n.d.). This crucifix was made in 970 with additions to it in 1683. This sculpture is 73.6 inches tall which shows it dominance and splendor (The Radical Catholic, 2014). The Gero Crucifix has Jesus hanging on a cross with a large, golden sun behind him. His body and hair are shades of brown whereas the rest of the sculpture is gold.
Christ in the Lindau Gospels is more symbolic rather than realistic as Christ in the Gero Crucifix. The crucifix is till the focal point as it is in the middle and the largest image, but there are other “distractions” surrounding the image so that it is not the only thing viewed. The Gero Crucifix has its focal and only point being Jesus on the cross. Its massive size alludes to the importance of this act. There is a contrast between the natural looking Jesus in earthy browns with the gold sun and cross around him depicting divinity. The style of the Gero Crucifix is more simplistic than that of the Lindau Gospels. Both are ornate in their own sense with gold being a main medium.
What I found most interesting about the Lindau Gospels is that it was a compilation of many different cultures and time periods. You can really see the European influences in the images of Christ and the icons around him. You can also see the influence of the Middle East in the colors and jewels around the border. I found the Gero Crucifix interesting in its massive size and consecration. The sculpture itself is over six feet tall which is incredible. I also found it interesting that only a priest or archbishop could fix the cracks because it was consecrated. This shows the importance of holy objects in the Catholic faith.
I am most drawn to the Lindau Gospels. I think all of the jewels and colors are really eye-catching and draw you towards it. I also think the images around Jesus are captivating because of their body positions. None of the figures really look natural. I am not usually drawn to “gaudy” and detailed work. This piece draws me, though, with its use of jewels, gold, and craftsmanship. I also think it is fascinating that it contains the four Gospels and other important texts. This shows the importance, divinity, and significance of the words that this book carries.
I have thought a little bit about the illuminated manuscript project. I am thinking of doing doing something with the words I have tattooed on my foot. I have the words “yampita, ntambula, nalokoka” which roughly translated means “called, walk, saved”. These words have a lot of significance to my faith journey and I am thinking of doing my project with them. They are from the story of Peter walking out on the water so maybe I will use a boat or waves to help depict them.
Lauer, R. (n.d.). Kolner Dom. Retrieved July 10, 2018, from Gero Crucifix, circa 970: https://www.koelner-dom.de/rundgang/bedeutendewerke/gero-crucifix-circa-970/info/?L=1
Medieval Histories. (2016, March 2). The Lindau Gospels in Brilliant Light. Retrieved July 10, 2018, from Medieval Histories Site: http://www.medievalhistories.com/the-lindau-gospels-on-show/
The Radical Catholic. (2014, September 12). The Radical Catholic Blog. Retrieved July 10, 2018, from The Gero Crucifix: http://theradicalcatholic.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-gero-crucifix.html