DAS GOLDENE EVANGELIENBUCH VON ECHTERNACH. CODEX AUREUS EPTERNACENSIS. [THE GOLDEN GOSPEL BOOK OF ECHTERNACH].
(Zürich: Coron Verlag, 1982). 457 x 324 mm. (18 x 12 3/4"). 136 leaves (in the facsimile volume). Two volumes (including commentary volume in German). Companion volume by Rainer Kahsnitz. No. 8 OF 150 SPECIAL COPIES in the deluxe binding (of 850 total copies).
Facsimile attractively bound in the publisher's gold slubbed silk, both covers with brass cornerplates featuring a stylized quatrefoil leaf, front cover with the same plate used, on the diagonal, as centerpiece, wide raised bands; FACSIMILE VOLUME HOUSED IN A STRIKING LEATHER BOX WITH cork lining and a top in which is set A CONVINCING 8 x 5" REPRODUCTION OF THE ECHTERNACH GOSPEL COVER, FEATURING THE 10TH CENTURY OTTONIAN IVORY CRUCIFIXION, AROUND WHICH IS A WIDE FRAME WITH JEWELS set in gold filigree between intricately decorated enamelled plaques; companion volume with vellum spine and rose boards depicting in 28 squares roaring lions in Medieval style. Text in 23 1/2 karat gold, more than 500 initials in colors, gold, and silver, full-page initial at the opening of each Gospel, four "carpet" openings adorned with the colors and patterns of Byzantine fabrics, and 60 miniatures illustrating Christ in Majesty with the Evangelists and the Prophets, parables told by Jesus, and scenes from the life of Christ. Prospectus with folder containing sample leaf laid in. The corners of the box showing a hint of wear, but the facsimile volume in virtually mint condition.
The monks of Echternach, a community founded in Luxemburg in the late seventh century by the English missionary St. Willibrod, produced outstanding illuminated books, one of the grandest of which is this Golden Gospel, named for the golden lettering of the text. Our marvelous facsimile, which does not stint the use of gold leaf, effectively reproduces the delicate colors of the original, in which orchid pink and mint green predominate. The Gospel dates to the early 11th century (the ivory used on the cover of the original book is from a few decades earlier) and is executed in the style of illumination developed during the so-called Ottonian Renaissance of the 10th century, when the German Empire (in which Echternach was then included) was ruled by one Saxon Otto or another: Otto I (936–973), Otto II (973–983), or Otto III (983–1002). One interesting feature of these Gospel illustrations is that the influence of Byzantine Greek art is noticeable; this is due to the arrival in Germany in 972 of the 12-year-old Greek princess Theophano to marry the future Otto II. The Greek influence is particularly strong in the depictions of the evangelists, seated at their desks, surrounded with a classicizing architectural frame, and surmounted by their winged symbols. The four creatures reappear, along with four prophets at their desks, in the eight tondos surrounding the Christ in Majesty, also Greek in style. Whereas these scenes are formal and hieratic, the narrative scenes are done in a lively, vernacular style, and clearly more than one artist worked on this masterpiece. Christ is shown with long black hair, his large hands often raised in a gesture of healing and teaching, followed by disciples wearing a rainbow of garments. Our very substantial and heavy facsimile--the box and two volumes together weigh almost 40 pounds--is an extraordinary piece of work, and it represents facsimile production at its finest, especially in our strictly limited version that reproduces the late 10th century binding done in Trier, considered to be the finest book cover of the Ottonian era. (ST12570)