Thursday, July 21, 2011

Gospel Lectionary, Saint Matthew writing his Gospel, inspired by Wisdom, Walters Manuscript W.535, fol. 67v

This is one of twenty-six known manuscripts by the hand of Luke the Cypriot (active 1583-1625), an accomplished Greek calligrapher who worked after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople (1453). He copied it in 1594 at his episcopal see of Buzǎu (in Wallachia, now Romania) and soon took it to Moscow, where it was richly illustrated with New Testament scenes by a team of anonymous Russian artists. The book contains passages taken from the four Gospels and arranged in the order in which they are read out loud in church in the course of the year (hence its name Lectionary, from the Latin "lectio," reading). Short intructions in Slavonic accompany some of the miniatures, offering a glimpse of the painters' working process.

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