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Leaf from a Gradual with Historiated Initial (G): Mary as Queen of Heaven

Leaf from a Gradual with Historiated Initial (G): Mary as Queen of Heaven

c. 1425-1450

Ink, tempera, and gold on parchment

Sheet: 42 x 30 cm (16 9/16 x 11 13/16 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1928.652

Description

This initial G introduces the Feast of the Assumption (August 15) in the gradual, a choir book used for singing the Latin Mass. The historiated initial bears the image of the Virgin, alone and unaccompanied by saints, borne aloft by angels. The Virgin was believed to have been assumed into heaven, body and soul, three days after her death. Here she is surrounded by a host of angels who play musical instruments, suggesting the celestial realm.

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