The Portrait Painter, the Illustrator and the Goldsmith

It is believed that 3 artists created the Book of Kells and art historians and archaeologists have identified them as the ‘Portrait Painter’, the ‘Illustrator’ and the ‘Goldsmith’.

The Portrait Painter was responsible for stunning portraits of Christ, Matthew and John.
In folio 32v, seated on a low-backed throne, Christ holds a red-covered Gospel book. His golden-red hair is flanked by peacocks, symbols of resurrection.

The Illustrator painted impressive figures such as the four Evangelists and the Virgin and Child. In folio 7V, the Virgin enthroned with Christ on her knee, wears a lozenge shaped brooch and is surrounded by a border interwoven with snakes.

The Goldsmith was capable of such extraordinary fineness and delicacy, that his skills have been likened to those of a goldsmith. In folio 34r (the Chi Rho page), the letters chi and rho are lavishly decorated with intricate patterns and knot work. Chi and Rho are the first two letters of the word Christ in Greek.

Get inspired by the Book of Kells and create a drawing or painting, poem or short story for the Book of Kells Creative Competition 2019.

Why not get your creativity flowing by visiting the Book of Kells, which is open 7 days a week, or visit the Get Inspired section on our website today.