"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.
Subject: Medieval Manuscripts
Period: 1300 (circa)
3.5 x 4.8 inches
8.9 x 12.2 cm
A Breviary is liturgical book used for the celebration of the Divine Office. All members of monastic orders and the clergy are committed to the daily recitation prayers, devotions and reading contained in the breviary. During the Middle Ages, the leaves making up a Breviary were written by hand on expensive parchment and beautifully illuminated with jewel-like pigments and gold leaf. These illuminated manuscripts combined the collaborative efforts of an array of highly skilled craftspeople; requiring the joint labors of the parchmenter, professional scribes to write the text in Gothic script, artists to illuminate the pages with decorations in a laborious manner with handmade paints and gold leaf, and masterful binders to complete the process.
Vellum leaf from a Breviary written in Flanders, probably Bruges, by Dominican or Franciscan monks, who traveled throughout Europe. Every breviary begins with a Psalter and this leaf is from this section. Both sides are decorated with a single large initial that extends to fill the entire margin, illuminated in blue, red and burnished gold leaf. Each verse is also begun with a small initial in blue or gold. The text is from Psalm 7, beginning with verse 13, and the beginning of Psalm 8.
As this is from a traveling Breviary, it is well worn and somewhat soiled.