St. Matthew and St. John; Left cover of The Washington Manuscript of the Gospels

Historical period(s)
Byzantine period, 7th century
Encaustic painting on wooden panel
H x W: 21.3 x 14.3 cm (8 3/8 x 5 5/8 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Book cover

Byzantine period (330 - 1453), Christianity, Egypt, Saint John, Saint Matthew

Monastery of the Vine-dresser, near Giza, Egypt [1]

To 1906
Ali Arabi, Giza, Egypt, to 1906 [2]

From 1906 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Ali Arabi in Giza, Egypt, on December 19, 1906 [3]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [4]


[1] See object file for F1906.274, folder sheet note, Fr. Theodore Peterson, St. Paul's College, Catholic University, 1957.

[2] For purchase information, see object file for F1906.274. Also see Original Miscellaneous List, Biblical Mss. Section, S.I. 1467, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[3] See note 2.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Ali Arabi (C.L. Freer source) ca. 1840 - 1932
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919

Published References
  • Henry Arthur Sanders. New Manuscripts of the Bible from Egypt. 2nd series, vol. 12, no. 1 Boston, January - March, 1908. pl. 3.
  • Jules Leroy. Les Manuscrits Coptes et Coptes-Arabes Illustrates. Bibliothèque archéologique et historique Paris. pl. 26.
  • Freer Gallery of Art. Gallery Book I: Exhibition of July 19, 1933. Washington, July 19, 1933. .
  • Caspar Rene Gregory. Das Freer Logion. Gregory, C.R. Versuche und entwurfe. 1 Leipzig. pl. 4.
  • Walter Dennison, Charles Rufus Morey. Studies in East Christian and Roman Art. University of Michigan Humanistic Series, 12 New York. .
  • (Introduction) Henry Arthur Sanders. Facsimile of the Washington Manuscript of the Four Gospels in the Freer Collection. Ann Arbor, 1912. p. 1.
  • Ann C. Gunter. A Collector's Journey: Charles Lang Freer and Egypt. Washington and London, 2002. p. 16, fig. 1.2.
  • Thomas Lawton, Linda Merrill. Freer: a legacy of art. Washington and New York, 1993. p. 67, fig. 46.
  • Kurt Weitzman. An early Coptic/Arabic miniature in Leningrad. vol. 10 Ann Arbor, Mich., 1943. pp. 119-134, fig. 7.
  • Dr. Michelle Brown. In The Beginning: Bibles Before the Year 1000. Exh. cat. Washington, 2006. cat. 28, p.145, 150-1,268.
  • Gary Vikan. Byzantine Art as a Mirror of its Public. vol. 118, no. 283 London, August 1983. pp. 164-167.
  • The Manuscripts of the Gospel in the Freer Collection. vol. 29 Ann Arbor, March 1913. pp. 257, 279.
  • Edwards Park. Treasures from the Smithsonian Institution., 1st ed. Washington and New York. p. 329.
  • Seymour de Ricci, W. J. Wilson. Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada. 3 vols., New York, 1935-1940. no. 3, p. 465.
Collection Area(s)
Biblical Manuscripts
Web Resources
The Story of the Beautiful
Google Cultural Institute
SI Usage Statement

Usage Conditions Apply

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery welcome information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.

Related Objects