His great system for finding similar biblical passages: Eusebius' work as a magnificent masterpiece from Reichenau

Gospel Harmony of Eusebius

Monastery of Reichenau (Germany) — Second quarter of the 11th century

Gospel Harmony of Eusebius

Gospel Harmony of Eusebius

Monastery of Reichenau (Germany) — Second quarter of the 11th century

  1. This 11th century masterpiece from Reichenau Abbey presents the 4th century work by Eusebius (ca. 260/65 - ca. 340)

  2. With all the hallmarks of Ottonian art: classical architecture, bright colors, and the generous use of gold leaf

  3. Its 42 miniatures and initials, all executed in glittering gold, are among the finest of the period

Gospel Harmony of Eusebius

Alternative Titles:
  • Evangelienharmonie des Eusebius
  • Festtagsevangelistar mit Kanontafeln
  • Le concordanze di Eusebio
  • Eusebio di Cesarea
Gospel Harmony of Eusebius – Codex F. II. 1 – Biblioteca Queriniana (Brescia, Italy)
Gospel Harmony of Eusebius – Codex F. II. 1 – Biblioteca Queriniana (Brescia, Italy)
Gospel Harmony of Eusebius – Codex F. II. 1 – Biblioteca Queriniana (Brescia, Italy)
Gospel Harmony of Eusebius – Codex F. II. 1 – Biblioteca Queriniana (Brescia, Italy)
Gospel Harmony of Eusebius – Codex F. II. 1 – Biblioteca Queriniana (Brescia, Italy)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The Reichenau school was one of the most important centers of manuscript production during the Middle Ages, greatly influencing and in many way defining the style of Ottonian Illumination. The Gospel Harmony of Eusebius is a prime example of Reichenau illumination in its late period. Beginning with 19 canon tables, each unique with respect to its design, it is followed by a Gospel Pericopes featuring gorgeous miniatures of the various works and events in the life of Jesus Christ. This splendid illumination features all the hallmarks of Ottonian art: classically-influence architecture, purple and burnished-gold backgrounds, bright colors, and the generous application of gold leaf.

Gospel Harmony of Eusebius

Among the irreplaceable masterpieces of the school of Reichenau is the manuscript Queriniana in Brescia, composed almost exclusively of full-page miniatures, initials and elaborate canon tables. The codex is introduced by 19 leaves, portraying 19 architectural, artfully executed canon arches that frame the Gospel Harmony created by Eusebius in the 4th century. All folios are ornate with a variety of luxurious decorations and none of the many colorful columns are identical; architectural gables and arches, inspired by the classical style, alternate to form a perfectly harmonious composition. Little is known about the origins of the manuscript. By the 14th century at the latest, the codex was in the possession of the upper Italian Lamberti Family, whose coat of arms adorns the very first page of the manuscript. The question today is whether its current contents were assembled from two manuscripts, and might be answered by future research.

Gorgeous Ottonian Illumination

This first section is followed by the Gospel Pericopes and includes eleven full-page miniatures as well as twelve luxury initials facing each other and introducing the readings for the different feast days. The solemn character of the book is further underlined by a number of initials set on purple ground and preceding the individual readings. The vivid orange fillings further enhance the colorfulness so typical of Ottonian illumination from Reichenau. This unique manuscript is rarely mentioned in the expert literature, perhaps because of its remote repository, but whoever does so, describes it with the greatest esteem. Its 42 miniatures and initials, all executed in glittering gold, are among the finest examples ever created by artists of the Ottonian period. The monumental feast day Gospels document the beauty and quality of Reichenau book illumination in its heyday.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Evangelienharmonie des Eusebius
Festtagsevangelistar mit Kanontafeln
Le concordanze di Eusebio
Eusebio di Cesarea
Size / Format
84 pages / 35.0 x 25.0 cm
Date
Second quarter of the 11th century
Language
Illustrations
19 canon-tables, 11 full-page miniatures and 12 full-page initial letters with rich gold ornaments
Die Evangelienharmonie des Eusebius

Gospel Harmony of Eusebius

Baptism of Jesus

This miniature page is a splendid example of the Reichenau school of illumination and of the Ottonian style in general. At the same time, the influences of Byzantine illumination are obvious: a magnificently polished background, grand aesthetic, exaggerated gestures, flat facial features with piercing eyes, and strong symbolism.

As the Holy Spirit descends from above in the form of a bird, Christ is depicted rising from the River Jordan with the assistance of John the Baptist and gives the sign of benediction. Two of his disciples wait to dry him off on the right bank. The gold background gives the scene a feeling of the divine, as though it was lifted out of time and space for a moment because of the gravity of this event in the Vita Christi.

2 available facsimile edition(s) of „Gospel Harmony of Eusebius“

Die Evangelienharmonie des Eusebius
Gospel Harmony of Eusebius – Codex F. II. 1 – Biblioteca Queriniana (Brescia, Italy)
Gospel Harmony of Eusebius – Codex F. II. 1 – Biblioteca Queriniana (Brescia, Italy)
Gospel Harmony of Eusebius – Codex F. II. 1 – Biblioteca Queriniana (Brescia, Italy)
Gospel Harmony of Eusebius – Codex F. II. 1 – Biblioteca Queriniana (Brescia, Italy)
Gospel Harmony of Eusebius – Codex F. II. 1 – Biblioteca Queriniana (Brescia, Italy)
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Die Evangelienharmonie des Eusebius

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Graz, 1991
Binding
Half leather. All folios are cut according to the original.
Commentary
1 volume (160 pages) by S. I. Parker and W. Milde
Languages: English, German

The scholarly commentary volume explains all miniatures both for professional and lay readers and deals with the historic and art historic background of the book.

S. I. Parker, Philadelphia, with an introduction by W. Milde, Wolfenbüttel. Approx.160 pp. Binding: cloth.
More Information
All folios are cut according to the original.
Price Category: €
Edition available
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Le concordanze di Eusebio
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Le concordanze di Eusebio

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
De Agostini/UTET – Rome/Turin, 2006
Limited Edition
444 copies
Binding
Tooled leather binding with metal fittings
Commentary
1 volume (131 pages)
Language: Italian
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