Can I have info regarding influences on the artist, the theme or message in the painting of St. Matthew in the Ebbo Gospels?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

St. Matthew of the Ebbo Gospel represents the development of a new Caroligian vernacular in painting, according to Kliener. Benson and Chazelle find in it a similarity to the Utrecht Psalter. St. Matthew is said to resemble the first psalm of the Utrecht Psalter. It is the consensus that the Ebbo figures are agitated and nervous. St. Matthew looks calm and quietly employed until you look closely at his eyes, eye brows, lips and the straining muscle of his neck; in these, agitation can readily be recognized.

The brush strokes are described as energetic, streaky and swift and Kleiner says that the Ebbo Gospel painter merged "classical illusionism" with the "northern linear" technique. The theme of St. Matthew seems to set him as a reaper of the harvest of mankind's souls as the background seems to be a field of ripened wheat over which a winged man stands while holding a scythe. The energetic focus of the painting is St. Matthew intently at work on his writing; he is working so frenetically that he is hunched over and continues to hold his ink horn rather than lodge it somewhere.