Saint Bernward of Hildesheim

Object Details


Saint Bernward of Hildesheim






Hildesheim, Germany (Place Created)


probably 1170s


Tempera colors, gold leaf, silver leaf, and ink on parchment

Object Number:

Ms. 64, fol. 156


Leaf: 28.2 × 18.9 cm (11 1/8 × 7 7/16 in.)

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Founder and art patron of Saint Michael's abbey at Hildesheim, Saint Bernward stands within the great church he had built. An angel on the left descends to give him a cross, referring to the relic of the True Cross that Emperor Otto III gave Bernward in 993. The scroll in Bernward's right hand reading, "No danger endures before this sign," declares the apotropaic powers that the relic was believed to hold. The kneeling monk below Bernward, labeled Heinrich of Midel, opens a dialogue with his scroll: "Remember your congregation." Bernward responds with the scroll in his left hand, offering a prayer for the monastic community: "Lord, bless this house." Of the eight monks represented in the miniature, inscriptions name three: Heinrich, Gevehard, and Widikind. These three may have been monks at Saint Michael's who participated in the production of this manuscript. This miniature introduces the feast day of Saint Bernward, which the abbey was first given permission to celebrate in 1150, just ten years before this manuscript was probably made. The Pope canonized Bernward as a saint in 1193.

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