Christ Enthroned from the Godescalc Gospels

Christ Enthroned from the Godescalc Gospels

Date ca. 781-83

Movement Early Medieval | Carolingian

Medium Tempera on vellum

Dimensions 12.625 x 8.25″

Housed at Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris


It was Charlemagne’s ambitions to revive education and literacy within his empire; therefore, a massive royal academy was created to serve as a scriptorium—this is one of the earliest works from it. Roman motifs (garden background) combine with Hiberno-Saxon ones (interlacing frame). Christ’s eyes are enlarged to create a direct relationship with the viewer; his robs are outlined to show where they might fall naturally, while white highlights upon his feet, face and hands help create spatial relation.