Pontifical Gundekarianum

Pontifical Gundekarianum Facsimile Edition

Eichstatt (Germany) — 1071-1697

Continuously used in Eichstätt for over 600 years: a pontifical with an illustrated register of the bishops of Eichstätt demonstrates the evolution of the art of illumination from the Romanesque to the Renaissance

  1. The manuscript was commissioned by Bishop Gundekar II of Eichstätt (1019–75) as a pontifical in 1071

  2. Gundekar also had miniatures of Christ, 12 local saints, and all 18 bishops added to the manuscript

  3. Various other bishops had the manuscript updated over the centuries with 29 miniatures in total

Pontifical Gundekarianum

Codex B 4 Diözesanarchiv Eichstätt (Eichstätt, Germany)
  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (0)
Pontifical Gundekarianum

Created in 1071 at the behest of Bishop Gundekar II of Eichstätt as a pontifical, the Gundekarianum was used by the bishops of Eichstätt until 1697 and was continuously updated in the manner of a family genealogy. It is the most comprehensive medieval manuscript of its kind and is also a precious source for liturgical and art history. The original part of the manuscript contains a series of miniatures depicting Christ, twelve saints associated with Eichstätt, and all eighteen bishops of Eichstätt since the founding of the diocese by Willibald including Gundekar himself. More than a century later, Bishop Otto appended the register up to his own reign and thus set a pattern for his successors. Beginning ca. 1300, the short texts were replaced by long vitae and individual portraits replaced connected groups of bishops. The last miniatures were added in 1517, numbering 29 in total. They demonstrate the evolution of the art of illumination across four and a half centuries, making the manuscript not only an important record of the bishops of Eichstätt but an excellent source for the study of art history.


Alternative Titles
Liber pontificalis Eichstetensis
Size / Format
84 pages / 46.0 x 37.0 cm
29 opaque color miniatures, large and small gold decorated initials
Detail Picture

Pontifical Gundekarianum

Gundekar II, Bishop of Eichstätt

The namesake of this manuscript, Gundekar II (1019–75), is believed to have commissioned it in 1071 before presenting it to Eichstätt Cathedral in 1072. As Bishop of Eichstätt, he was a supporter of church reform and appears to be a modest person because he did not order a full-page dedication miniature of himself. Instead, he merely appears alongside the other 17 bishops of Eichstätt in a classically styled architectural frame dressed in liturgical robes and holding a book and bishop’s staff.

Single Page

Pontifical Gundekarianum

Johann von Eych, Prince-Bishop of Eichstätt

The work begun by Bishop Gundekar II was carried on by his successors until 1697, and thus one can witness an evolution of artistic styles beginning with the Romanesque and ending with the Renaissance. This splendid full-page miniature in the Northern Renaissance style still exhibits the elaborate ornamentation of the Gothic style in combination with new innovations for depicting human figures.

Johann von Eych (d. 1464) was also Archbishop-Elector of Mainz, Prince-Bishop of Augsburg, and eventually became a cardinal, although he never received his cardinal’s cap. His handsome portrait depicts the reformer enthroned as a powerful Prince of the Church and his entourage of both clerics and laymen indicates his spiritual and temporal authority.

Facsimile Editions
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