Leaf from a Psalter with Full Border with Medallions (Annunciation, SS. Jerome, Clare, Sebastian and Bernardino) and Historiated Initial (E): Virgin and Child

Leaf from a Psalter with Full Border with Medallions (Annunciation, SS. Jerome, Clare, Sebastian and Bernardino) and Historiated Initial (E): Virgin and Child

1475

Ink, tempera, and gold on parchment

Sheet: 57 x 39 cm (22 7/16 x 15 3/8 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1953.642

Fun Fact

Saint Bernardino, seen in the lower right, was a popular and much-venerated preacher from Siena.

Description

This leaf is richly decorated with an elaborate border featuring multicolored acanthus leaves. A letter E that has been decorated, or historiated, may be seen in the top left corner with the Madonna and Child. It introduces the text for Psalm 67: Exurgat Deus, et dissipentur inimici ejus (Let God arise, and let his enemies be scattered). Medallions along the right border include Saints Jerome, Clare, Sebastian, and Bernardino, and a medallion in the lower border depicts the Annunciation.

The leaf derives from a choir psalter that contained all 150 biblical psalms and typically appeared in small volumes for personal use. In large monastic communities, the psalms were read weekly as part of the daily office. Choir psalters were therefore large-format books for communal prayer.

See also

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