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Initial B: David Playing the Harp and David and Goliath
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Unknown
French, Paris, about 1250 - 1260
Tempera colors and gold leaf on parchment
7 9/16 x 5 1/4 in.
MS. LUDWIG VIII 4, FOL. 28V

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The opening letter B dominates this page beginning the psalms. The succeeding letters of the first word of Psalm 1 follow in gold on the colored bands at the top and bottom: Beat[us] vir q[u]i n[on] abiit (Blessed is the man who does not walk ...).

Two scenes from the life of King David, the supposed author of the psalms, occupy the large initial B. In the page's bottom half, the youthful David faces the Philistine soldier Goliath. David's victory over Goliath led to King Saul's jealousy, which caused the king to attack David as the boy played the harp, as pictured in the top half of the letter. The lozenges and roundels around the perimeter of the design contain smaller scenes from David's life.

Detail Views

Anointing of David
Anointing of David

Crowning of David
Crowning of David