Initial I: Scenes from the Life of Esther

Object Details

Title:

Initial I: Scenes from the Life of Esther

Artist/Maker(s):

Unknown

Culture:

Franco-Flemish

Date:

about 1270

Medium:

Tempera colors, black ink, and gold leaf on parchment

Dimensions:

Leaf: 47 x 32.2 cm (18 1/2 x 12 11/16 in.)

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The initial I in the left margin of this page begins the biblical book of Esther. The scene at the top of the initial illustrates one of the key events in Esther's story. After she convinces her husband, King Ahasuerus, not to permit the slaughter of the Jews, he indicates his favor by raising his scepter. The middle scene is the hanging of Haman, the king's advisor who masterminded the plot to kill the Jews. The bottom scene is difficult to interpret but most probably represents the intended massacre. The illuminator emphasized the importance of the topmost scene through the architectural framework and by making the figures larger than those in the other scenes.

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Exhibitions
Ten Centuries of French Illumination (April 23 to July 7, 1996)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), April 23 to July 7, 1996
Out of Bounds: Images in the Margins of Illuminated Manuscripts (September 1 to November 8, 2009)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), September 1 to November 8, 2009
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