Aug 25, 2023
Nov 3, 2016
Nov 3, 2016

Single Leaf from a Gospel Book with a Portrait of St. Luke

Single Leaf from a Gospel Book with a Portrait of St. Luke

c. 1440–1480

Ink and tempera on vellum

Sheet: 37 x 25 cm (14 9/16 x 9 13/16 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1999.212


Did you know?

The majority of Ethiopian manuscripts are written in Ge’ez, the ancient liturgical language of Ethiopia.


Christianity arrived in Ethiopia during the 300s CE, well before reaching northern Europe. Typical of panel and manuscript painting in Ethiopia, this leaf is decorated with bright colors and a joyous interplay of geometric pattern. The full-page miniature depicts the evangelist Luke, with his symbol, the ox, within the arch above. The short text is in the Ge‘ez (the centuries-old church language of Ethiopian Orthodoxy) and consists of the opening lines of the gospel of Luke: “Make this image of St. Luke with this bull––his prayer (offering)––and with his blessings, they were with us. Amen.”

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