Apr 19, 2010

Leaf Excised from a Psalter: The Annunciation

Leaf Excised from a Psalter: The Annunciation

c. 1325–50

Ink, tempera, and gold on vellum

Sheet: 15.8 x 11.2 cm (6 1/4 x 4 7/16 in.)

Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund 1952.230


Did you know?

When the previous owner first saw this leaf he was struck by the expression on the Virgin's face; according to him, "I could not resist the purchase of the page."


This miniature of the Annunciation to Mary was taken from a psalter containing the 150 sacred songs or hymns from the Book of Psalms found in the Bible. Psalters were among the most popular books of the Middle Ages, used for daily church services in monasteries and for private devotion. The leaf from this liturgical manuscript probably came from England and was made around the time of the Black Death. In the past, manuscripts were often disassembled by owners and dealers to sell the single miniatures for a larger profit. Thus, the original cannot be reconstructed today.

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