Psalter

Object Details

Title:

Psalter

Artist/Maker(s):

Unknown

Culture:

German

Place(s):

Würzburg, Germany (Place created)

Date:

about 1240 - 1250

Medium:

Tempera colors, gold leaf, and silver leaf on parchment bound between wood boards covered with brown calf

Dimensions:

Leaf: 22.7 x 15.7 cm (8 15/16 x 6 3/16 in.)

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A psalter consists of all 150 psalms of the Bible, supplemented by other texts, such as a calendar of Church feasts and Old Testament Canticles. This psalter was made in the mid-1200s in Würzburg, then a flourishing center for manuscript illumination. The book opens with calendar pages featuring one of the twelve minor prophets from the Old Testament for each month. Following this preface the psalms appear, organized into ten sections in order to facilitate their recitation during the course of the week's devotions. Full-page miniatures including both Old and New Testament subjects appear before Psalm 1, Psalm 51, and Psalm 101. The illuminator introduced the seven remaining sections with large decorated or inhabited initials, the latter of which are particularly inventive.

Illuminations from the Würzburg school are monumental compositions characterized by bright, highly saturated colors, highly burnished gold-leaf backgrounds, and dramatic, focused narratives.

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