Wenceslaus Psalter

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Object Details

Title:

Wenceslaus Psalter

Artist/Maker:

Unknown

Culture:

French

Place:

Paris, France (Place created)

Date:

about 1250 - 1260

Medium:

Tempera colors, gold leaf, and ink on parchment bound between pasteboard covered with deep violet morocco

Dimensions:

Leaf: 19.2 × 13.3 cm (7 9/16 × 5 1/4 in.)

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Collecting all 150 Psalms of the Old Testament along with other devotional texts, psalters were among the most popular devotional books of the Middle Ages. Illuminators and scribes made the Wenceslaus Psalter in Paris at a time when Parisian Gothic art had international appeal. Within a generation of its creation, a Bohemian nobleman, perhaps King Wenceslaus III, acquired it from an earlier owner. The Wenceslaus Psalter features over 130 narrative scenes from the Old and New Testaments and eight historiated initials painted with generous quantities of gold leaf and costly pigments. The style of illumination, with its finely drawn figures and palette dominated by red, blue, and gold, is typical of Parisian Gothic work in the 1250s. The layout of each page, with painted initials at the beginning of each verse and decorative line endings at the end of each poetic line is also characteristic of the period.

Related Works
Exhibitions
Gothic Manuscript Illumination: 1250-1375 (January 16 to March 13, 1985) (fols. 19v - 20)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), January 16 to March 31, 1985
French Illuminated Manuscripts (July 17 to October 6, 1985) (fols. 25v - 26)
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Illuminated Gothic Manuscripts (January 20 to April 5, 1987) (fols. 22v - 23)
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The Decorated Letter (July 21 to October 6, 1987) (fols. 28v - 29)
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Illuminated Devotional Manuscripts (October 16 to December 30, 1990) (fols. 25v - 26)
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A Thousand Years of the Bible: Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts (January 15 to March 31, 1991) (fols. 17v - 18)
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The Decorated Letter (January 14 to March 29, 1992) (fols. 92v - 93)
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The Passion of Christ in Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts (April 11 to July 5, 1992) (fols. 25v - 26)
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The Psalms and Their Illustration (April 27 to July 3, 1993) (fols. 28v - 29)
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Ars et Ingenium: The Illuminator's Craft and Genius (July 26 to October 9, 1994) (fols. 17v - 18)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), July 26 to October 9, 1994
Ten Centuries of French Illumination (April 23 to July 7, 1996) (fols. 19v - 20)
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  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), January 21 to April 6, 1997
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  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), February 2 to April 18, 1999
The Psalms and Their Illustration (February 1 to April 23, 2000) (fols. 15v - 16)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), February 1 to April 23, 2000
Illuminating Color (May 22 to August 26, 2001) (fols. 15v - 16)
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The Book of Kings: Art, War, and the Morgan Library's Medieval Picture Bible (October 27 to December 29, 2002) (fols. 28v-29: Initial B: David Playing the Harp; David and Goliath)
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The Glory of the Gothic Page (December 16, 2003 to March 7, 2004) (fols. 9v -10)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), December 16, 2003 to March 7, 2004
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  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), January 23 to April 15, 2007
The Old Testament in Medieval Manuscript Illumination (June 1 to August 8, 2010) (fol. 9v - 10)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), June 1 to August 8, 2010
Stories to Watch: Narrative in Medieval Manuscripts (February 22 to May 15, 2011) (fols. 9v - 10)
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