Mar 13, 2008

Initial S[alve sancta parens] with the Virgin Adored by Angels, and Singing Benedictine Monks: Single Leaf from a Gradual

Initial S[alve sancta parens] with the Virgin Adored by Angels, and Singing Benedictine Monks: Single Leaf from a Gradual

c. 1270

Ink, tempera, and gold on parchment

Sheet: 47 x 34 cm (18 1/2 x 13 3/8 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1951.313

Location

Description

This large initial S introduces the introit (beginning) for a Saturday Votive Mass of the Virgin Mary. The text begins Salve sancta parens (Hail Holy Parent [Mother]). The double curve of the letter creates two registers for the representation of independent scenes. The initial is set within a rectangular frame and against a background of diapers (geometric patterns). This diapering motif was commonly used in French illumination of this period and thus reveals some French influence in the decoration of the letter. Additionally, Byzantine models were probably used by the artist for the figures of the Virgin flanked by two angels—perhaps inspired by a mosaic.

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