Annunciation, March 25

April 24, 2009

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Leaf from an Antiphonary: Initial M with the Annunciation 

Bologna, Italy, 1314

Script: Rotunda

Parchment with ink, paint, and gold

Notation: Square

Illuminator (Artist): Neri da Rimini

Scribe: Bonfantino di Bologna

 

Initial M with the Annunciation

This initial begins the first response for the first nocturn of Matins for the feast of the Annunciation (March 25), “Missus est Gabriel Angelus ad Mariam Virginem …” (The Angel Gabriel was sent to the Virgin Mary). This initial, and those on its sister leaves (Lewis E M 68:7b and 9), is by Neri da Rimini, a Riminese illuminator whose activity can be documented from 1300 to 1338. This leaf can be dated more precisely to 1314 based on an inscription on Lewis E M 68:7b, in which the scribe Bonfantino of Bologna signed and dated his work.

Free Library of Philadelphia Lewis E M 68:7a

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St. Benedict, March 21

April 24, 2009

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Single leaf from a gradual:

Initial M with St. Benedict of Nursia receiving the Rule

and giving it to St. Romuald and his friars, March 21

Florence, Italy, c. 1270-80

Script: Rotunda
Parchment with ink, paint, and gold

Notation: Square

 

This initial begins the first response of the first nocturn of Matins for the feast of St. Benedict (Mar. 21), “Mundum vocans ad agni nuptias …” (Calling the world to the marriage of the Lamb). The rule of St. Benedict is the set of instructions and teachings on leading the monastic life that became the foundational text of Western monasticism.

St. Benedict’s feast day falls on March 21.  However, since it typically falls during the penitential season of Lent, the day is celebrated July 11.

Free Library of Philadelphia E M 74:6

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

Initial F with St. Thomas Aquinas teaching a group of Dominicans      , March 7

Flanders, ca. 1325

Script: Gothic bookhand

Parchment with ink, paint, and gold

Notation: Square

This initial begins the first antiphon of first Vespers for the feast of the Dominican theologian St. Thomas Aquinas (Mar. 7), “Felix thomas doctor ecclesie lumen mundi splendor ytalie…” (Happy is Thomas, Doctor of the Church, light of the world, splendor of Italy).  Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274) is considered one of the greatests theologians in the Church’s history.  He is most well-known for his work Summa Theologica, a manual of theology that summarizes the arguments for almost all points of the Catholic faith.

Musically, this leaf is more melismatic than a number of the leaves featured in this exhibition. A melisma is a group of more than five or six notes sung to a single syllable.The last word at the bottom of the page, for example, is “bravium”: there are fourteen notes on the syllable “bra-.” 

This leaf has a bas-de-page common in Flemish manuscripts of the first part of the fourteenth century.  The border is inhabited with birds and rabbits.

Free Library of Philadelphia Lewis E M 66:8