Ink, tempera, and gold on vellum
Sheet: 42 x 15.3 cm (16 9/16 x 6 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1952.565
The illuminator of this initial placed three small scenes one above another to suggest the vertical stem of the initial I, here standing for the introductory passages of the Gospel of Saint John, In principio erat verbum . . . (In the beginning was the word . . .). Such initials have been called "ladder initials" because the individual scenes were arranged one on top of the other to be read in sequence. Each group of figures stands beneath a cusped gable and depicts scenes from the Marriage at Cana. At the top, Christ and the Virgin speak together; at the center, Christ tells the attendant to fill the jars; and below, the banquet proceeds after the miraculous change of water into wine. The present leaf (actually a fragment) comes from a large lectern bible, which probably existed in several volumes because of its size. In the 1100s and 1200s, the large multivolume bible was a standard form used for refectory readings at meals or else kept in a library for reference.
The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.
Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar. If you have questions about requesting an image, please email email@example.com.