This initial L, for Liber generationis... (The book of the generation of Jesus Christ...), originally served as an introduction to the Gospel of St. Matthew. Unlike the Helmarshausen illuminator, who painted an actual portrait bust of St. Matthew (displayed nearby), this artist chose to paint within the letter the Evangelist's symbol, a winged man holding a book.
Miniature Excised from a Gospel Book: The Symbol of St. Matthew (recto) and Canon Tables (verso)
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