Initial C: David Playing Bells

Object Details

Title:

Initial C: David Playing Bells

Artist/Maker:

Master of the Ingeborg Psalter (French, active about 1195 - about 1210)

Culture:

French

Place:

Noyon (probably), France, Europe (Place created)

Date:

after 1205

Medium:

Tempera colors and gold leaf on parchment

Object Number:

Ms. 66, fol. 105v

Dimensions:

Leaf: 31 × 21.9 cm (12 3/16 × 8 5/8 in.)

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Within the opening letter C of Psalm 97, King David plays a carillon of bells, accompanied by two companion musicians. According to the Hebrew bible, David led other musicians in musical rituals connected with the installation of the Ark of the Covenant in Jerusalem. Furthermore, the abundant textual references to musical instruments in the psalms inspired medieval illuminators to choose musical scenes to illustrate them.

Especially characteristic of the monumentality of the style of the manuscript's anonymous illuminator is the imposing and substantial figure of David, which both fills the initial and has a weighty quality. This illusion of three-dimensionality finds parallels in northern French sculpture of the time.

Related Works
Exhibitions
The Psalms and Their Illustration (February 1 to April 23, 2000)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), February 1 to April 23, 2000
Five Hundred Years of Manuscript Illumination (February 11 to June 1, 2003)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), February 11 to June 1, 2003
Music for the Masses: Illuminated Choir Books (August 14 to October 28, 2007)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), August 14 to October 28, 2007
Another Renaissance: Art Between Flanders and Champagne, 1150 - 1250 (April 17 to July 15, 2013)
  • Musée National du Moyen-Age, Thermes de Cluny (Paris), April 17 to July 15, 2013