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Ink, tempera, and gold on vellum; binding: brown Morocco over original wooden boards
Overall: 5.9 x 11.6 cm (2 5/16 x 4 9/16 in.)
Gift of Milton B. Freudenheim in memory of his wife, Elizabeth Ege Freudenheim 1998.124.221.b
This manuscript is a collaborative effort of two talented illuminators with distinctive styles. Ninety-seven historiated initials (letters containing scenes), including the one on recto (right side) shown here, are by the Master of the Boston City of God, a painter who worked in Utrecht. Four full-page miniatures (small paintings), including the Nativity on the verso (left side), have recently been attributed to the Master of Gijsbrecht van Brederode. The background of the Nativity depicts a distant cityscape (perhaps Utrecht), adjacent to which may be seen the Journey of the Magi and the Annunciation to the Shepherds. In the left margin, the Virgin Mary (above) appears to the Roman Emperor Augustus and the Tiburtine Sibyl, who, according to legend, foretold the coming of Christ. This volume is not written in Latin, but in a Dutch littera textualis, an elegant Gothic bookhand.
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