Scribe Writing, probably Eadmer of Canterbury

Object Details

Title:

Scribe Writing, probably Eadmer of Canterbury

Artist/Maker:

Unknown

Culture:

Flemish

Place:

Tournai (probably), Belgium, Europe (Place created)

Date:

about 1140 - 1150

Medium:

Tempera colors, gold paint, and ink on parchment

Dimensions:

Leaf: 17.8 × 10.8 cm (7 × 4 1/4 in.)

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Eadmer, the author of this biography of fellow monk Saint Anselm of Canterbury, leans over his writing table, concentrating on writing his text. Eadmer did not describe Anselm's features in his biography, because the author considered the saint's wisdom, sanctity, and miracles more important than his physical appearance.

The illuminator of this manuscript, working a generation after the saint's death in 1109, never saw Anselm, so the portrait relies on traditional models. The artist emphasized Eadmer's authority by showing him beneath a canopy and with the partially shaved head of a monk. Eadmer gazes at his text on the facing page with his brow furrowed, which conveys the effort required by his thoughtful labors. As was characteristic of Romanesque art, Eadmer's clothing was rendered in a stylized, rather than naturalistic, manner; the drapery has been organized into sweeping curves and rhythmic patterns.

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Related Media
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    Audio: Portrait of Eadmer of Canterbury