Initial C Excised from a Choral Book: St. Anthony with Antonite Friars

Initial C Excised from a Choral Book: St. Anthony with Antonite Friars

c. 1400-1440

Ink, tempera, and gold on vellum

Sheet: 18.5 x 17.5 cm (7 5/16 x 6 7/8 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1954.796

Location

Description

The focus of this initial is an imposing portrait of Saint Anthony, one of the original Christian “desert hermits.” Anthony retired into the Egyptian desert where he remained in solitude for many years. He
is generally regarded as the founder of monasticism and, along with Saints Jerome, Ambrose, and
Gregory the Great, one of the four fathers of the Christian Church. Anthony is identified here by his
monastic garb and by the tau (T-shaped Egyptian cross) on the shoulder of his cloak. The religious
order bearing his name was founded in the 11th century, and numerous monasteries were founded
in his honor. Members of this order are depicted in the lower left.

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