Artibus et Historiae no. 15 (VIII)

1987, ISSN 0391-9064

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ROBERT D. STEVICK - The St. Cuthbert Gospel Binding and Insular Design

The late 7th-century Gospel of St. John preserved among the relics of St. Cuthbert retains its original binding, whose decorative designs embody in an exemplary way the principles of composition that informed early Insular art. The designs on the front and back covers are geometrical not only for showing the influence of compass and straight-edge. They are geometrical in conception as well, having proportions among their major dimensions that are all based on the "two true measures of geometry", the golden section ratio and the square root of two. This essay analyses the forms of the designs and provides line-drawings to show how they could have been created.

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