Saturday, January 26, 2013

Leaf of a Missal with the Crucifixion and Canon of the Mass, Crucifixion, Walters Manuscript W.757, fol. W.757r

This leaf once belonged to a small Missal, and was created in the late eleventh or early twelfth century. The distinct style of its miniature suggests it was made in Southern Germany, or possibly in the Tyrol region of Austria, where line drawing in colored inks had developed into a regional style. The recto depicts the Crucifixion, and the later redrawing of Christ, especially apparent in his face and feet, suggests it had been worn down through pious touch. On the verso is found the opening text for the Canon of the Mass, introduced by a historiated initial "T" containing a standing man wearing a short skirt. That the manuscript was well-used is attested to both by the heavy wear to the parchment, and by the two original manuscript tabs that were created as page markers for this important text and image.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Single leaf from a Gradual with the Assumption of the Virgin, Initial G with the death and assumption of the Virgin, Walters Manuscript W.756

This leaf originally belonged to a mid-thirteenth-century gradual from southern Germany, or possibly the Seitenstetten region of Austria. The pages contain the fragmentary hymns for the feasts of St. Lawrence and the Assumption of the Virgin. The illumination introduces the latter, in the form of a large historiated initial "G," and depicts the death of the Virgin surrounded by apostles in the lower portion of the initial, while revealing her assumption into Heaven above. Christ appears within a rainbow mandorla and holds a small figure representing Mary's soul, an image that is based on Byzantine iconography. Originally the verso of the leaf, the image was fortuitously preserved due to the recto having been re-used as an account book cover in the early seventeenth century, the title of which is still visible.