This image is available for download, without charge, under the Getty's Open Content Program.
Open Content images tend to be large in file-size. To avoid potential data charges from your carrier, we recommend making sure your device is connected to a Wi-Fi network before downloading.
Not currently on view
Initial D: David Pointing to His Mouth
Bute Master (Franco-Flemish, active about 1260 - 1290)
Paris (written) France Northeastern (illuminated) France (Place created)
text and illumination about 1285
Tempera colors, gold, and iron gall ink on parchment
Leaf: 17 × 11.9 cm (6 11/16 × 4 11/16 in.)
A large historiated initial D opens Psalm 38: Dixi custodiam vias meas ut non delinq[ua]m in lingua mea (I said, "I will take heed to my ways that I not sin with my tongue"). Inspired by these words, the Bute Master depicted King David, traditionally considered the author of the psalms, pointing to his mouth. With his other hand, David gestures toward the ground and the seated woman at the bottom of the page. She in turn points toward a soldier. Presenting his back to the viewer, the soldier twists his head up and to the left while pointing his spear toward David. This series of gestures creates a visual circuit that links the figures as it guides the viewer's gaze around the page.
Manuscript Illumination of the 13th Century (January 21 to April 6, 1997)
- The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), January 21 to April 6, 1997
The Glory of the Gothic Page (December 16, 2003 to March 7, 2004)
- The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), December 16, 2003 to March 7, 2004
Gothic Grandeur: Manuscript Illumination 1200-1350 (December 13, 2011 to May 13, 2012)
- The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), December 13, 2011 to May 13, 2012