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.

 

Leaf from an Antiphonary:

Initial N with the Nativity of the Virgin, September 8

 

Flanders, ca. 1325

Script: Gothic bookhand

Parchment with ink, paint, and gold

Notation: Hufnagel

 

This initial begins the first response of the first nocturn of Matins for the feast of the Nativity of the Virgin (Sept. 8), “Nativitas tua dei genitrix virgo gaudium  annunciauit universo mundo …” (Your birth, O Virgin Mother of God, heralded joy to all the world).

There is stitching in several places on this leaf: sewing was a common way to repair parchment in the Middle Ages and beyond, as parchment is animal skin.

The bas-de-page depicts a dog chasing a rabbit: bottom border illustrations such as these were common in the first half of the fourteenth century, particularly in Flanders.  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. This leaf is also a fine example of the use of the F line and the C line: the F is marked and colored red; the C is marked and colored yellow.

Free Library of Philadelphia Lewis E M 42:17

 

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Michaelmas Sept. 29

March 16, 2009

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 B with St. Michael Archangel Conquering the Devil, September 29

 

Belgium, Bruges, 1500

Script: Gothic

Parchment with ink, paint, and gold

Notation: Square

Illuminator (Artist): assistant of Cornelia van Wulfschkercke

 

This initial begins the Introit for the feast of St. Michael Archangel (Sept. 29), “Benedicite dominum omnes angeli eius …” (Bless the Lord, all you angels of his).  This leaf was illuminated by an assistant of Cornelia van Wulfschkercke, a nun at the Bruges Carmelite convent Sion who was active in the late 15th and early 16th century. 

The floral border is a scattered, strewn, or trompe l’oeil border.  This style became fashionable particularly in Flemish art around the middle of the 15th century. Many of these borders also included division lines, such as seen here, with alternating colors in the background.

The main decoration in this manuscript is an historiated initial featuring Michael the Archangel: however, there are a few examples of inhabited initials as well, with faces appearing in the B (benedic) and G (gloria). Michael is shown with typical attributes: scales weighing the souls of the departed, and a sword with which he impales a dragon.

Free Library of Philadelphia Lewis E M 66:14