Decorated Initial D

Object Details


Decorated Initial D


Attributed to Nivardus of Milan (Italian, active about 1000 - about 1025)




Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire, France (Place created)


first quarter of 11th century


Tempera colors, gold, silver, and ink on parchment


Leaf: 23.2 x 17.9 cm (9 1/8 x 7 1/16 in.)

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This page contains the first line of a prayer for Easter. The initial letter, a D in the round shape of the uncial script, occupies most of the page and supports a growth of dynamic interlace that winds around the letter. After the initial D, the first line of text continues in gold on a bar at the bottom of the page: D[eu]s qui hodierna die (O God, who on this day).

An exuberant gold vine with silver leaves springs from a pair of twisted columns flanking the large initial. Two figures, who bear no thematic relationship to the text, climb on the vine. Their poses and the colors of their clothing–one in blue tunic and red leggings and the other in red tunic and blue leggings–contribute to the lively design of the page as a whole.

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