Sep 23, 2013

Leaf from a Greek Psalter and New Testament

Leaf from a Greek Psalter and New Testament


Ink, tempera, and gold on vellum

Sheet: 16.3 x 10.9 cm (6 7/16 x 4 5/16 in.); Framed: 44.5 x 34.3 cm (17 1/2 x 13 1/2 in.); Matted: 40.6 x 30.5 cm (16 x 12 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1950.154


Did you know?

Imported illuminated manuscripts were important in spreading the Byzantine style throughout Western Europe.


The decoration of this leaf is dominated by a half-page miniature representing the Apostle Peter. Below the miniature are 13 lines of Greek text (the first six verses of Peter's Epistle) introduced by a figure initial of the Greek letter Pi. The vertical members of the letter are composed of Christ and Saint Peter, and are probably intended to recall the words of Christ who, upon encountering Peter as he was leaving Rome asked, "Where goest thou?" The present leaf comes from a combined Psalter and New Testament which, on the basis of its sophisticated style, was undoubtedly produced in a workshop in Constantinople. The parent manuscript was given to the Pantokrator Monastery on Mount Athos (founded 1363) by its aristocratic, possibly imperial, owner.

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