"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.
Subject: Medieval Manuscripts
Period: 1570 (circa)
Color: Hand Color
4.5 x 6.5 inches
11.4 x 16.5 cm
Book of Hours were prayer books designed for the laity, but modeled on the Divine Office, a cycle of daily devotions, prayers and readings, performed by members of religious orders and the clergy. Its central text is the Hours of the Virgin. There are eight hours (times for prayer ): Matins, Lauds. Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers and Compline. During the Middle Ages, the leaves making up a Book of Hours 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, and masterful binders to complete the process.
A wonderful vellum leaf from a Book of Hours written in Paris in the latter part of the 16th century. This is one of the last Books of Hours, as their value was declared null by Pius V in 1568. The scribe used dark brown ink and wrote in fine, Roman script, possibly trying to imitate printed type. The leaf is decorated with one large and one small initial in red, blue, green and gold.
The large initial is the beginning of the second lesson [Lectio secunda] from the Book of Job 10, and is part of the Mass for the Dead.
My soul is weary of my life, I will let go my speech against myself, I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.
I will say to God; tell me why Thou judgest me so.
Doth it seem good to Thee that Thou shouldst calumniate me, and oppress me,
the work of Thy own hands, and help the counsel of the wicked?
Clean and bright.