All posts by Dorothea McEwan

The Warburg Institute, University of London.

Gospel Illuminations. Ethiopian Paintings and their European Models

Contacts and comparisons: Idiosyncrasies in the illuminated tetraevangelium of Märtula Maryam.*

The Märtula Maryam Gospel Book, a manuscript book c. 1650, presents a blending of foreign ideas as seen in the Evangelium arabicum with Ethiopian usage and intermittent non-adherence to theologically approved traditional solutions. The language of European visual explanations was transformed and translated into Ethiopian indigenous solutions. This process should not be seen

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Gospel Illuminations (Abstract)

Gospel Illuminations: Ethiopian paintings and their European models


A monastery in Ethiopia houses a precious gospel book of c. 1650, in which all four gospels are richly illuminated. The paintings are skilfully executed by more than one painter, the colours are still vivid and well preserved. What makes this gospel book so extraordinarily important is the adoption of painting processes so far not seen in Ethiopian painting, a nascent use of perspective and the borrowing of visual props from a Western source. Continue reading Gospel Illuminations (Abstract)