Painted Labyrinth

The World of the Lindisfarne Gospels

Michelle Brown

Painted Labyrinth

Michelle Brown

Distributed for British Library

48 pages | 10-1/10 x 7-3/5 | © 2003, 2004
Paper $12.95 ISBN: 9780712348119 Published December 2004 For sale in North and South America only

The Lindisfarne Gospels is one of the world's greatest works of art in book form. It is an 8th-century Latin Gospelbook, with a 10th-century gloss, which is the earliest surviving translation of the Gospels into the English language. Its maker was one of the greatest artists of the Anglo-Saxon and Celtic worlds, receptive to new influences and prepared to experiment with new techniques. The book is thought to have been made around 715-720 in the island monastery of Lindisfarne (Holy Island) in the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria in north-eastern England. It is without doubt one of the great landmarks of human cultural achievement: the attempt of a gifted individual to express a whole society's identity and belief with an energy and passion that still inspire.

Painted Labyrinth is a general introduction to the background and history of this breathtaking artwork and symbol of Christian faith. Highly illustrated and very readable, the book is divided into short sections, each examining an aspect of the Anglo-Saxon world, the heritage of the people who lived and ruled at this time, and how and why this great book was created. There is a list of suggested further reading, and a complete list of artefacts and manuscripts in the 2003 British Library exhibition of the same name.

   The Background: the World and Faith around 700

Makers and Owners of the Lindisfarne Gospels
   Britain and Ireland in the Age of Bede
   Rebuilding Rome in Britain
   The Lindisfarne Context
   Aldred and After

The Lindisfarne Gospels and the Cult of St Cuthbert
   The Making of a Super-hero
   The Relics of St Cuthbert and the Lindisfarne Gospels

The Contents of the Lindisfarne Gospels
   The Text and Script
   The Jerome Prefaces and the Canon Tables
   Sacred Calligraphy: the Decorated Incipit Pages and Initials
   The Carpet Pages
   The Evangelist Miniatures
   The Book as Icon

The Making of the Lindisfarne Gospels
   The Art of the Lindisfarne Gospels
   Design and Painting Techniques
   The Pigments
   Procedures for Making a Medieval Manuscript

The World of the Lindisfarne Gospels
   Travel, Trade and Ideas
   East of Eden: Beyond the 'Known' World

The Meaning of the Lindisfarne Gospels
   What Did the Lindisfarne Gospels Mean to Their Makers?
   What Did the Lindisfarne Gospels Mean to Society?
   What Do the Lindisfarne Gospels Mean Now?

Further Reading
The New Facsimile
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