"[Book of Hours Leaf]", Kerver, Thielman
Subject: Early Printing
Period: 1500 (circa)
Color: Hand Color
4.8 x 8.1 inches
12.2 x 20.6 cm
This leaf is from the brief transitional period when the new technology of printing with movable type was combined with the more labor intensive methods of hand painting. The earliest printers were trained in the manuscript tradition and incorporated the conventions of historiated initials and illustrations into their early work. At first they left those spaces blank for the illuminator to complete entirely by hand. Later they developed printing methods (using woodcuts or iron engravings) to decorate the leaves.
A rare vellum leaf from a Book of Hours, made during the transitional period when printing and illumination were combined. The printers at that time used the same type of letters that were used by the scribes, so the result looked like a manuscript. The initials, line fillers and border were then added by hand. This leaf includes a superb border decoration with leaves, flowers and scrolls. The text is from John 19, in which Jesus is delivered to be crucified, and translates in part as:
"Crucify him, crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him."
The Jews answered him, "We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God."
When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid.
He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, "Where are you from?" But Jesus gave him no answer.
So Pilate said to him, "You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?"
Jesus answered him, "You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin."