Starting with a detailed iconographic analysis of the four angles (gammadia) placed in the four corners of the book covers gifted by the Lombard queen Theodelinda to the basilica San Giovanni in Monza (ca. 600 a. D.) the study tries to reconstruct the historical process that led to the development of the book cover as a mirror of its content in early Christian art and established the four gospel codex as a medium representing the world. Special attention is paid to the relationship of Jewish and Christian book casing thereby taking account of the different types of books, scroll or codex, used in each religion for the writings of Holy Scripture. The development of the codex starting from low esteem in classical antiquity to highest regard as an object representing the world in late antique Christianity is told by the different images of the biblical books in art: at first scrolls enclosed in a bookcase, later open codices and at last closed codices. Parallels between these images and the use of gospel codices in a liturgical setting, especially a ceremony preparing for baptism called Expositio Evangeliorum, explain the change in the representation of the gospel from open book to closed codex. The book cover of the codex thereby functioned in a similar way to the doors of the shrine used to enclose the scrolls of the torah. In an epilogue the continuing interest in the iconography studied by the analysis of the Monza book covers is shown by a close look at the architecture of the new national library in Paris designed by Dominique Perrault.
born in 1973, studied Art History, Ancient History and History at the Universities of Innsbruck and Freiburg im Breisgau, completed his studies with a doctoral degree at the University of Innsbruck in 2008. 1998-2001 studies at the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris. Since 2002 he worked as an art critic and curator in Munich, most recently with the Bavarian Department of State-owned Palaces, Gardens and Lakes. Lectures and seminars at the University of Innsbruck and at the University of Applied Sciences in Kufstein. Publications on late antique and medieval art, on the medieval artist, on Jewish and Christian art and on cultural and artistic exchanges between Asia and Europe. Currently he is working on a comprehensive Media History of the codex book.