Five Leaves from a Noted Breviary
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Italian, Northeastern Italy, about 1420
Tempera colors, gold leaf, and ink on parchment

MS. 24

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These leaves come from a breviary, a liturgical book that contains all the sung and spoken texts used in the Divine Office--the prescribed prayers recited by monks and nuns at set times of the day. Although the specific community of monks in northern Italy who originally used this manuscript is unknown, images of monks clothed in the black, hooded robes worn by members of the Benedictine order appear in many of the initials that decorate its pages.

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