Exhibitions/ Art Object

Gospel Book (so-called Small Bernward Gospel)

last third 9th century (Mss)/ca. 1000 (front cover - second half 12th century)
Northeast French and German (Hildesheim)
Mss: Opaque paint, gold, and silver on parchment; Binding and front cover: Leather, copper worked in vernis brun; gilded copper, rock crystal, paint on parchment under horn (?) on oak. Byzantine ivory plaque
Overall: 8 7/8 x 6 11/16 in. (22.5 x 17 cm)
Manuscripts and Illuminations
Credit Line:
Dom-Museum Hildesheim (DS 13)
Not on view
The precious materials constituting this small gospel book were assembled in several stages. The manuscript was already a hundred years old when Bernward of Hildesheim commissioned a new cover, which likely included the tenthcentury Byzantine ivory we see at the center. The bejeweled frame is a twelfth-century addition, probably in honor of Bernward’s canonization. With the bold monogram on the back cover, Bernward asserts his status as owner and patron.
St. Michael's Monastery, Hildesheim (from last third 9th century); Cathedral Treasury, Hildesheim (19th century); Dom-Museum Hildesheim (lent to the Art Institute of Chicago (2012–present)) Documentation: Victor Heinrich Elbern, Der Hildesheimer Domschatz (Hildesheim: Lax, 1969), no. 13; Michael Brandt and Arne Eggebrecht, eds., Bernward von Hildesheim und das Zeitalter der Ottonen: Katalog der Ausstellung, Hildesheim 1993 (Hildesheim: Bernward Verlag/Mainz: Ph. v. Zabern, 1993), vol. 2, pp. 550-553.