Inspired by Byzantine painting, this rare miniature represents the last surviving fragment of a once magnificent bible. The fundamental text of every medieval monastery was the Latin Bible. Monastic bibles at this time were usually large, cumbersome books (commonly in two or three volumes) designed to be recited from a lectern-rather than for private study. This exquisite miniature was excised from such a bible and introduces the beginning of the Gospel of St. Luke.
Undoubtedly copied and painted in the scriptorium at Cluny, the bible may have been influenced by a manuscript carried to Cluny from Byzantium, or else may represent the work of an Italian artist working at Cluny but acquainted with Byzantine modes of painting. A large monastery such as Cluny probably had up to a dozen copyists continuously producing such manuscripts. A surviving 12th-century booklist records that Cluny possessed some 570 volumes, a large number for the time.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, " The Glory of Byzantium: Art and culture of the Middle Byzantine Era A.D. 843-1261" cat. no. 311, p. 473.
The Cleveland Museum of Art, "Scriptorium: The Illuminated Book in Medieval Art" November 5, 1991-January 12, 1992.
The Cleveland Museum of Art (10/10/2004 - 10/02/2005); "Illuminated Manuscripts"
Bavarian Nationalmuseum, Munich (5/10/2007 - 9/16/2007), the J. Paul Getty Musuem, Los Angeles (10/30/2007 - 1/20/2008) and Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, TN (2/13/2009 - 6/7/2009): "Sacred Gifts and Worldly Treasures: Medieval Masterworks from the Cleveland Museum of Art"
Cleveland Museum of Art, (11/06/2010 - 04/17/2011); "The Glory Of the Painted Page: Manuscript Illuminations from the Permanent Collections"