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Decorated Initial V
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This image is available for download, without charge, under the Getty's Open Content Program.

Antonio da Monza
Italian, Rome, late 1400s or early 1500s
Tempera colors and gold leaf on parchment

25 1/4 x 17 1/8 in.
MS. LUDWIG VI 3, FOL. 54

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A decorated initial V opens the introit for Ascension day, Viri galilei quid admiramini aspitie[n]tes (Men of Galilee, why are you astonished gazing up?). Set apart from the rest of the text by its large size, color, and all'antica handling, the initial is particularly elegant. A variety of forms from antiquity-vine leaves, wreaths, decorative arabesques, and gems-sprout from the letter's armature. A scribe wrote the music in square notation, a system developed in the Middle Ages and still used today.