Professor Nancy Netzer

New Look at the Echternach Scriptorium

Over the past forty years scholars studying manuscripts associated with the monastery at Echternach have been able to piece together the most detailed picture of surviving products and workshop organization of an Insular scriptorium during the eighth and early ninth century.  This paper summarizes the state of knowledge resulting from past research on thirty-two manuscripts related in various ways to Echternach to identify open questions that might be answerable given recent digitization of the manuscripts and current scientific tools for generating new data for analysis.  The paper outlines how renewed focus on the diverse corpus of Echternach manuscripts presents the possibility of generating information about workshop practices, hierarchy of personnel, and mutual influences among scribe/artists within the scriptorium.  It also discusses how such scrutiny might shed light on different traditions in which artists were trained in the British Isles and on the Continent, the relationship between model exemplars and the training of artists who use them, and the reinterpreting of manuscript models when transported from one monastery to another.  Pursing such inquiry collaboratively and strategically with an interdisciplinary methodology may yield conclusions that challenge traditional assumptions and contribute much to understanding of the amalgamation of cultural traditions that took place on the Continent.

Nancy Netzer
Professor of Art History, Boston College
June 2019


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