easterhufnagel

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Leaf from a gradual:

Initial R with the Resurrection

Augsburg, Germany, late 15th century

Script: Gothic

Parchment with ink, paint, and gold

Notation: Hufnagel

 

This initial begins the Introit for Easter Sunday, “Resurrexi et adhuc tecum sum …” (I have risen and am still with thee).  The naturalist inhabited border of the leaf and the familiar medieval town and landscape background of the historiated initial are beautiful examples of trends in fifteenth-century German manuscript illumination. Above-ground sarcophagii were frequently used in late medieval German burial practices. The decoration in the leaf is typically anachronistic.

This leaf has Hufnagel musical notation: Hufnagel is a German term resulting from a comparison between the appearance of the notation’s virga (single note of relatively higher pitch) to a horseshoe-nail.

Free Library of Philadelphia Lewis E M 67:7

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mcai660121b

 

Single leaf from a gradual: Initial R with the Resurrection

Flanders, late 15th century

Script: Gothic bookhand

Parchment with ink, paint, and gold

Notation: Square

This initial begins the Introit for Easter Sunday, “Resurrexi et adhuc tecum sum …” (I have risen and am still with thee).  The figures in the borders relate to the Resurrection.  On the left, the Old Testament prophet Sophonias holds a scroll inscribed in part, “In die resurrectionis me[a]e congregabo gentes …” (On the day of my Resurrection I will assemble the Gentiles.)  The figure in the bottom right-hand corner of the leaf depicts Samson carrying the Gates of Gaza: in the Old Testament, he stays at a harlot’s house in Gaza, while his enemies lay in wait for him at the gates of the city. Samson tears off the gates and “carries them up to the top of an hill that is before Hé-bron” (Judges 16:3).  Jonah and the Whale can be seen in the bottom border of the page. Samson and Jonah are typological references to the Resurrection: these are scenes from the Old Testament that prefigure the Resurrection.

Free Library of Philadelphia Lewis E M 66:12

 

mcai740141b

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Single leaf from an antiphonary:

Initial A with the Three Marys at the Tomb, Easter Sunday

Italy — Florence, 15th century

Benedictine Use

Script: Rotunda
Parchment with lead pencil, ink, and paint

Notation: Square

The initial A begins the first response of the first nocturn of Matins for Easter Sunday, “Angelus domini descendit de celo.” (An angel of the Lord descended from heaven.) This leaf is exceptional in that it allows the viewer to see one stage of medieval manuscript decoration. An artist drew in the initial, figures, and foliate border with lead pencil or ink, and undoubtedly expected it to be decorated with colored pigments and illuminated with gold or silver. Other stages were completed in this leaf: the parchment, after it was prepared for writing, would have been pricked and ruled. Someone would prick the edges of each page with a sharp instrument, and then rule the page with lead ink or make an impression (called blind ruling). A scribe would then have written the text, and also in this case, the music notation with ink. This page was also rubricated: someone wrote instructions in red ink and even went to the trouble of decorating the first initial at the top of the page with red and purple ink.

The Three Marys appeared at the tomb of Jesus three days after his body had been placed in it, only to discover that his body was no longer there: that he had risen from the dead, as he had predicted on the evening before his crucifixion. The Marys were the Virgin, mother of Jesus; Mary Magdalene; and Mary of Cleopas, sister of Joseph.

Free Library of Philadelphia Lewis E M 74:14