St. Matthew from the Lindisfarne Gospels
Date ca. 700
Movement Early Medieval
Medium Tempera on vellum
Dimensions 13.5 x 9.25″
Housed at The British Library, London
Hiberno-Saxon art quickly changed as Roman influence reached the isles—most likely as the result of a trip taken by the Abbot of Jarrow. Here, the artist has introduced a sense of depth with the foreshortening of the bench, missing from the Symbol of St. Matthew in the Book of Durrow; further, St. Matthew’s dress has taken on a more natural appearance. Irish styles are still employed, however—note the patterns at the frame’s corners, on the bench and upon the hems of Matthew’s robs. An unknown figures peers from beyond a curtain; he is believed to be Moses holding the Old Testament, providing a distinction, or perhaps a continuity, from the Old to New Testaments.