Decorated Initial E
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Master of the Ingeborg Psalter
French, probably Noyon, after 1205
Tempera colors and gold leaf on parchment
12 3/16 x 8 5/8 in.
MS. 66, FOL. 88V

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Decorated with with curling stems, leaves, and fantastic animals, the initial E introducing Psalm 80 is the only one of the nine painted initials in this French Gothic psalter that does not contain a figural scene. The complex leaf form at the center, which partially curls around the central horizontal of the letter, dwarfs the birds and beasts. Through a brilliant design, the illuminator arranged the initial's decorative elements into a bold, centralized composition in a palette of gold, saturated blue, and rusty red.