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Decorated Monogram IN
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Unknown
Ottonian, Reichenau, Germany or St. Gall, Switzerland, late 900s
Tempera colors, gold paint, and silver paint on parchment
10 15/16 x 7 9/16 in.
MS. 16, FOL. 4V

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Beneath an ornamental arch supported by columns, the anonymous artist of the gospel lectionary introduces the reading for the third Christmas Mass with an intertwined IN, the first word of the Saint John the Evangelist's Gospel. Giving a monumental format to the page, the artist balanced an angular structure with rounded designs. Stylized, three-lobed leaves within tear-shaped forms fill the columns and the arch. The straight lines of the letters contrast with the exuberant curling tendrils and the bird's head at the ends of their vertical strokes.