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Cross Page from Lindisfarne Gospels


after unknown artist (c. 700 A.D.)

During the dark ages Irish Christians became the spiritual and cultural leaders of the western world. In the period between 600-800 A.D. the Irish founded monasteries that became seats of learning and the arts. They patterned their monastic communities after the desert fathers of North Africa. Their artistic expression combined the intricate patterns of from ancient Celtic interlace with Early Christian geometric and decorative embellishments. A manuscript containing the Word of God was seen as a sacred object whose visual beauty reflected the importance of its content.

One of the finest of these manuscripts is the Lindisfarne Gospels. The Cross Page is an imaginative creation of breathtaking complexity. The miniaturists, working with a jeweler's precision, created a delicate page of astonishing beauty.

Mixed media drawing with 22-carat gold leaf