Initial C: Monks Singing
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Italian, Northeastern Italy, about 1420
Tempera colors, gold leaf, and ink on parchment
18 5/16 x 13 5/8 in.
MS. 24, LEAF 3V

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This image provides a fascinating glimpse of how monks would have used a music manuscript like this one. A group of monks dressed in the black, hooded robes of the Benedictine order gathers around a book on a lectern. The shortest monk, who stands at the front of the group, is responsible for turning the pages. This leaf comes from a breviary, a book that contains of the sung and spoken texts used in the Divine Office, the daily cycle of prayers said at monasteries.