April 24, 2009
Single leaf from an antiphonary: Initial P with the Presentation in the Temple and the Flight into Egypt in the border
Flanders, c. 1325
Script: Gothic bookhand
Parchment with ink, paint, and gold
This initial begins the first response of the second nocturn of Matins for the feast of the Purification of the Virgin (Feb. 2), “Postquam impleti sunt dies purgationis Marie …” (When the days of Mary’s purification were fulfilled). Forty days after the birth of Jesus, Mary went to the Temple in Jerusalem to attend a ritual cleansing for giving birth, according to Mosaic law. February 2 is celebrated in the Western church as the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Presentation in the Temple, and Candlemas (considered by some to be a Christianized pagan holiday celebrating Brigid, a goddess associated with flames and healing).
The bas-de-page depicts the Flight into Egypt, which is celebrated on February 17.
This leaf is from a Flemish antiphonary that belonged to John Ruskin (1819-1900), the famous English art and social critic. Ruskin collected medieval manuscripts from around 1850 until his death.
Free Library of Philadelphia E M 42:16B