"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.
Subject: Medieval Manuscripts
Period: 1250 (circa)
3.6 x 4.5 inches
9.1 x 11.4 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.
Great leaf from a Flemish Breviary that is over 750 years old. The vellum is quite sturdy as the booklet was meant to be carried by traveling monks in their daily activities. Both sides are illuminated with almost primitive decorations (one with the head of an animal) filling the margins and incorporating the large initials. These are painted in mauve, blue and gold leaf. The text is from the Psalms 124, 125 and 126.
They that trust in the Lord shall be as mount Sion: he shall not be moved for ever that dwelleth in Jerusalem. Mountains are round about it: so the Lord is round about his people from henceforth now and for ever. For the Lord will not leave the rod of sinners upon the lot of the just: that the just may not stretch forth their hands to iniquity. Do good, O Lord, to those that are good, and to the upright of heart. But such as turn aside into bonds, the Lord shall lead out with the workers of iniquity: peace upon Israel.
When the lord brought back the captivity of Sion, we became like men comforted. Then was our mouth filled with gladness; and our tongue with joy. Then shall they say among the Gentiles: The Lord hath done great things for them. The Lord hath done great things for us: we are become joyful. Turn again our captivity, O Lord, as a stream in the south. They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. Going they went and wept, casting their seeds. But coming they shall come with joyfulness, carrying their sheaves.
Unless the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it. Unless the Lord keep the city, he watcheth in vain that keepeth it. It is vain for you to rise before light, rise ye after you have sitten, you that eat the bread of sorrow. When he shall give sleep to his beloved.
Age-toned with some surface soil.