Portrait of Milo of Saint-Amand
Saint Omer, France; early 11th century
Universiteitsbibliotheek, Leiden, BPL 190
Exchanges between Anglo-Saxon England and the Continent were particularly rich, as scribes, artists, clergy, and books moved freely across the Channel. The monastery of Saint Bertin at Saint Omer, near the Channel coast, enjoyed a close relationship with Canterbury, and many Saint Bertin manuscripts exhibit innovative use of the colored outline technique favored there. In this collection of poetry by the poet Milo of Saint-Amand, the poet kneels in prayer before his modest bed, his long fingers in supplication to the hand of God emerging from a distant church. An inscription expresses the author’s appreciation for completing the work—a point that likely resonated with monks at Saint Bertin, who may have seen themselves and their own quarters in the portrayal of tonsured Milo and his humble accommodations.