Humanities › History & Culture Images from the Book of Kells Share Flipboard Email Print History & Culture Medieval & Renaissance History People & Events Daily Life American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture Asian History European History Genealogy Inventions Latin American History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By Melissa Snell History Expert B.A., History, University of Texas at Austin Melissa Snell is a historical researcher and writer specializing in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. She authored the forward for "The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Crusades." our editorial process Melissa Snell Updated March 17, 2017 01 of 09 Canon Table Directory to passages in multiple Gospels Canon Table from the Book of Kells. Public Domain Stunning Illuminations from the Fabulous 8th-Century Book of Gospels The Book of Kells is a splendid example of medieval manuscript art. Of its 680 surviving pages, only two have no decoration at all. Although most pages have merely a decorated initial or two, there are also many "carpet" pages, portrait pages, and heavily-decorated chapter introductions that have little more than a line or two of text. Most of it is in astonishingly good condition, considering its age and history. Here are some highlights from the Book of Kells. All images are in the public domain and are free for your use. For more information about the Book of Kells, be sure to visit this introduction by your Guide. Canon Tables were devised by Eusebius to indicate which passages are shared in multiple Gospels. The Canon Table above appears on Folio 5 of the Book of Kells. Just for fun, you can solve a jigsaw puzzle of part of this image here at the Medieval History site. 02 of 09 Christ Enthroned Golden Portrait of Jesus Christ Enthroned from the Book of Kells. Public Domain This is one of several portraits of Christ in the Book of Kells. It appears on Folio 32. 03 of 09 Decorated Initial A close-up of the book's fine detail Decorated Initial from the Book of Kells. Public Domain This detail provides a close view of the craftsmanship that went into inscribing the Book of Kells. 04 of 09 Incipit to the Gospel of Matthew First page of the Gospel of Matthew The Incipit to the Gospel of Matthew. Public Domain The first page of the Gospel of Matthew contains nothing more than the two words Liber generationis ("The book of the generation"), elaborately decorated, as you can see. 05 of 09 Portrait of John Glowing Golden Depiction of the Evangelist Portrait of John from the Book of Kells. Public Domain The Book of Kells contains portraits of all the Evangelists as well as of Christ. This portrait of John has a notably intricate border. Just for fun, try a jigsaw puzzle of this image. 06 of 09 Madonna and Child Earliest depiction of Mary and Jesus Madonna and Child from the Book of Kells. Public Domain This image of the Madonna and Child surrounded by angels appears on Folio 7 of the Book of Kells. It is the earliest known depiction of the Madonna and Child in western European art. 07 of 09 Four Evangelist Symbols Symbols for Matthew, Mark, Luke and John Symbols of the Four Evangelists. Public Domain "Carpet Pages" were purely decorative, and were so named for their resemblance to eastern carpets. This carpet page from Folio 27v of the Book of Kells depicts the symbols for the four evangelists: Matthew the Winged Man, Mark the Lion, Luke the Calf (or Bull), and John the Eagle, derived from the vision of Ezekiel. Just for fun, you can solve a jigsaw puzzle of part of this image here at the Medieval History site. 08 of 09 Incipit to Mark First Page of the Gospel of Mark Incipit to Mark. Public Domain Here is another elaborately decorated introduction page; this one is to the Gospel of Mark. 09 of 09 Portrait of Matthew Richly-Textured Representation of the Evangelist Portrait of Matthew. Public Domain This detailed portrait of the evangelist Matthew includes intricate designs in a rich array of warm tones.