The Beatus vir . . . Gorgeously Produced, Beautifully Framed
Catholic Church. Liturgy & Ritual. Psalter. Manuscript leaf. Northern Italy: ca. 1490. Folio.  f. (56 x 42 cm; 22" x 16").
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From alarge, magnificent Benedictine Psalter, this is the start of Psalm 1, “Beatus vir . . .” (“Blessed is the man who hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the chair of pestilence But his will is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he shall meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree which is planted near the running waters, which shall bring forth its fruit, in due season. And his leaf shall not fall off: and all [whatsoever he shall do shall prosper]. . . . ”).
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The text appears here in sepia ink in a large Renaissance rotunda hand, set forth to the point of our bracket above, illuminated and featuringa large miniature of Kind David filling the center of a large initial B. Along the bottom margin in three medallions are Saints Mark, Benedict (center bottom), and Laurence; the right margin has two additional medallion portraits of unidentified female figures. The margins are garnished with gilt and bright-colored flowers, among which hidesthe small image of a deer “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God”?
Matted and under glass in an elegant 20th-century gilt frame, ready for hanging. We have not opened this to discover whether Psalm 1 continues (or Job concludes) on the other side of the leaf, but the suspicion must be, given the beauty and quality of the side showing, that this is a leaf that would benefit from double-glazing showcasing both sides. (33296)
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