mca0060158a

Click on the image for a catalog record and for more images from the codex.

Antiphonary, Dominican use: Feast of St. John the Apostle, December 27

France, early 14th century

Script: Gothic bookhand (part one); Rotunda semitextualis (part two)

Parchment with ink and paint

Notation: Square

 

This antiphonary was made in France and eventually made its way to Italy by the 16th century, as there are added chants at the end of the volume which can clearly be dated to Italy in that time period.

This decorated initial U begins the response for the first nocturn of Matins for the Feast of St. John the Apostle, Dec. 27: “Valde honorandus est beatus iohannes qui supra pectus domini in cena recubuit. . .” (Very highly we must venerate blessed John; for during the Last Supper he reclined on the breast of the Lord). The page has been mended with green thread, possibly in the 18th or 19th century. This entire volume was well-used and well-worn, as it has mendings throughout, in addition to rips and tears from use.

Free Library of Philadelphia Lewis E 6 f158v
 

Link to a larger size of this image.

Advertisements
Click on the image for a link to the catalog record and higher resolutions.

Click on the image for a link to the catalog record and higher resolutions.

 

Leaf from a gradual:

Initial I with St John the Evangelist, December 27

Perugia, Italy, ca. 1325

Script: Rotunda

Parchment with ink, paint, and gold

Notation: Square

 

This initial begins the Introit for the Mass for the feast of St. John the Evangelist (Dec. 27), “In medio ecclesie apperunt os eius…” (In the middle of the temple, [the Lord] opened his mouth). John is blessing a monk in this image.

What is particularly interesting about this leaf is its bas-de-page, featuring animals playing instruments.  There is no way for us to know what the full picture in the margin once was, as the leaf was cropped at some point (probably in the nineteenth century). Also, there is a catch word at the bottom of the page, where the scribe has doodled a border.  Catch words were used to line up the quires or gatherings of pages when a book was bound.  The word “spiritus” would have been the first word on the next quire, presumably.

This leaf is from the same manuscript as Lewis E M 72:16 (Assumption), also featured in this exhibition.

Free Library of Philadelphia Lewis E M 72:15

Click on image for a link to the catalog record and higher resolutions.

Click on image for a link to the catalog record and higher resolutions.

 

Single leaf from a gradual: Initial P with the

Adoration of the Christ Child

with the Shepherds, December 25

Lombardy, Italy – c. 1490-1510

Script: Rotunda
Parchment with ink, paint, and gold

Notation: Square

 

This image begins the Introit for the Third Mass of Christmas Day, “Puer natus est nobis et filius datus est nobis” (Unto us a child is born and unto us a son is given). An Introit for a Mass is the first sung portion of the Mass, signifying its start.

 

In contrast with the Austrian Nativity leaf, 65:7, there is much more detail and definition in this historiated initial P. Notice the folds in the robes of the figures, the vanishing point of the decrepit stable, and more realistic-looking faces, with light and shadow. Although this was only made twenty years or so after the Austrian manuscript, it is evident that the Italian style had already become far more advanced, as the Renaissance was well under way by this time.

 

Free Library of Philadelphia E M 71:14

Click on image for a link to the catalog record and higher resolutions.

Click on image for a link to the catalog record and higher resolutions.

 

Single leaf from an antiphonary:

Initial H with the Nativity, December 25

Austria – Melk, ca. 1430-1440

Benedictine Use

Script: Gothic bookhand

Parchment with ink, paint, and gold

Notation: Square

 

This initial begins the first response of the first nocturn of Matins for the feast of the Nativity, “Hodie nobis caelorum Rex de Virgine nasci dignatus est, ut hominem perditum ad caelestia regna revocaret.” (On this day the King of heaven deigned to be born for us of a Virgin, in order to call fallen men home again to the heavenly kingdom). This leaf is one of many in the Free Library’s collection from a number of separate manuscripts from the scriptorium of the Benedictine monastery at Melk. Melk was famous for its calligraphy at the beginning of the 15th century: the abbey was reformed in 1418, at which time the abbot instituted a revival of learning and raised the bar for the quality of the scripts produced there.

Free Library of Philadelphia Lewis E M 65:7