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Fig. 1: Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry (detail-1413-1489) Most of the illuminated medieval manuscripts do contain scriptures in alternated red and blue lines, initials or letters. Sometimes gold, purple or green will be applied for extra decorations. Yellow will largely be reserved for a traitor's symbol (e.g. Judas). This document supplies a table with link to various websites providing hundreds or thousands images for these medieval manuscripts. Copyrighted images however will only be presented as links to the original sites. From these sites and examples Red and Blue are clearly to be considered as the most important medieval religious symbols. Red is being considered as a male symbol, blue as a female antipode, purple is a divine symbol.
Fig. 2: statistical overview of populations The antipodes red & blue even seem to be valid gender-symbols in the year 20101.
1 This statistical overview of male (coloured red) and female (coloured blue) inhabitants has been published in the Dutch version of Wikipedia's entry for my birth town: Eindhoven
Overview of Books of Hours-documents
Most of the illustrations found in the manuscripts at the following sites (or their updated successorlinks) have been painted in purple, red, blue and golden. • Book of Hours Exhibition, University of Pennsylvania - Books of Hours in the collection of Lawrence J. Schoenberg. Images and commentary.
• Books of Hours and the Transition to Print Culture - An online essay comparing printed books of hours with their manuscript precedents. • Books of Hours in the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, The Hague - A general introduction to Books of Hours, with links to hundreds of high-quality images from manuscripts in the Koninklijke Bibliotheek. • Books of Hours in the Wellesley College Library - A selection of images from five different Books of Hours, with a brief introduction. • Books of Hours: Introduction and Tutorial - Erik Drigsdahl's guide to the scholarly study of Books of Hours. • Depicting Devotion: Illuminated Books of Hours from the Middle Ages - An on-line exhibition of Books of Hours in the collection of the Department of Special Collections, Washington University Libraries, St. Louis. • A Few Minutes on Books of Hours - A introductory essay by Patrick Haynes. • Franciscan Books of Hours from Italy in the Newberry Library - Scholarly essay on three late-15th-century Italian Books of Hours, by Paula Hutton. • Hore Beate Marie Virginis - Index to a Selection of Uses - A scholarly index to local variations in the texts of Books of Hours. • A Hypertext Book of Hours - The complete text for the Use of Rome in Latin and English based on a 16th-century English Primer. • Leaves of Gold: Books of Hours - Images and catalogue entries for nineteen books of hours. Part of an exhibition of illuminated manuscripts from Philadelphia collections. • The Medieval Bestseller - Online version of an exhibition of Books of Hours in the Getty Museum. • Painted Prayers: Books of Hours from the Morgan Library - Web site of an exhibition at the J. Paul Getty Museum. • Sacred Image and Illusion in Late Flemish Manuscripts - Scholarly essay on the decoration of late-15th- and early-16th-century Books of Hours from France and Flanders, by Robert Calkins. • • Christus Rex - An excellent presentation of Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry Hill Monastic Manuscript Library - Comprehensive illuminations from books of hours
• The complete text for the Use of Rome in Latin and English based on a 16th-century English Primer has moved to www.medievalist.net/hourstxt/home.htm • • Dscriptorium - Links to Manuscript Sites A Hundred Highlights from the Koninklijke Bibliotheek - manuscript images and info
German Book of Hours - 16th -17th century
→ Source: Book of Hours Exhibition, University of Pennsylvania Books of Hours in the collection of Lawrence J. Schoenberg. Images and commentary.
Fig. 3: Book of Hours - Germany, 16th -17th century
Book of Hours (use of Rome) Germany, late sixteenth or early seventeenth century All persons are wearing purple, red & blue garments
Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry (1413-1489)
Source: → Christus Rex - An excellent presentation of Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry
Fig. 4: Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry
A sample of red & blue alternated scripture The Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry is usually referred to as "le roi des manuscrits enluminés" or "the king of the illuminated manuscripts", but it is also a pinnacle in the entire history of painting. Commissioned by Jean, Duc de Berry in 1413, it was painted by the Limbourg brothers who left it unfinished at their (and the Duc's) death in 1416. The Duc Charles I de Savoie commissioned Jean Colombe to complete the painting of the manuscript between 1485-1489.
The Amiens Calendar
The Amiens Calendar (1380-1530) wit alternating red & blue initials has been documented at: Characteristics in the calendars from Amiens (Month of July)
Fig. 5: The Amiens Composite Calendar - July
Tree of Jesse and Annunciation (1505)
It is with Books of Hours printed in Paris by Philippe Pigouchet and Thielman Kerver that the art of the printed Horae achieved late Gothic perfection. The pages are harmoniously laid out, graced by metalcuts designed by the work of the Master of Anne of Brittany. Pairs of facing images mark major textual divisions. Matin’s traditional Annunciation is juxtaposed with a Tree of Jesse, an illustration showing the Savior’s lineage extending from Jesse, the father of David, through David, to Mary and Jesus Christ at the apex of the tree. Hand-coloured, with extensive use of gold leaf, this Book of Hours exemplifies the transition between the late Gothic and the Renaissance and the symbiotic coexistence of the manuscript and the early printed book. Printed Horae for Rome use, Paris, Thielman Kerver, 21 April 1505 [Almanach for 1497-1520] (Private Collection, ff. b8v-C1).
Tree of Jesse and Annunciation Mary is dressed in red-purple and blue Master of Anne of Brittany
1194: Magna glosatura
In twelfth-century Herbert of Bosham (died c. 1194) used Jewish interpretations of the Bible to improve his understanding of the Holy Scripture. For his study of the Psalms he consulted a Jewish scholar, ‘my grammarian’ (litterator meus), and compared the Hebrew version with the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible). Please note the alternating red & blue letters in the title-line The following link to the copyrighted manuscript depicts a full page Herbert of Bosham’s arrangement of Peter Lombard’s edition of the Magna glosatura (England, c. 1200). Bodleian libraries, Oxford
1391: Gersonides, Milhamot ha-Shem
Gersonides, Milhamot ha-Shem (Spain, 1391). Hebrew Manuscript with red & blue initials. The similarity to Arabic script is noticeable. See the complete image at the copyrighted page. from the Bodleian libraries, Oxford
1438: Jacob ben Asher, Even ha-Ezer
Jacob ben Asher, Even ha-Ezer (Italy, 1438). The painting in a Hebrew manuscript depicts a bridal tent (chuppa). The bride is in blue and the groom in purple and the veil is white. The hills in the background are the Tuscan hills. Display the complete page and the painting Bodleian libraries, Oxford The word chuppah originally appears in the Hebrew Bible (Joel 2:16; Psalms 19:5). Historically, in Talmudic times, Jewish weddings consisted of two separate parts: the betrothal ceremony and the actual wedding ceremony. These two ceremonies usually took place about a year apart. The bride lived with her parents until the actual marriage ceremony, which would take place in a room or tent that the groom had set up for her. Later in history, the two ceremonies were combined and the marriage ceremony started to be performed publicly. Before going under the chuppah the groom covers the bride's face with a veil, known as the badeken (in Yiddish). The origin of this tradition is in the dispute of what exactly is the chuppah. There are opinions that the chuppah means covering the bride's face, and that by this covering the couple is to be married. Thus, some insist that the marriage witnesses also see this act of covering, as it is a formal part of the wedding. The groom enters the chuppah first to represent his ownership of the home on behalf of the couple. When the bride then enters the chuppah it is as though the groom is providing her with shelter or clothing, and he thus publicly demonstrates his new responsibilities toward her.
1440: Nicholas of Lyra’s Postilla
Illustrations to Nicholas of Lyra’s Postilla, including the menorah and the High Priest dressed in red & blue garments (England, c. 1430–40). from the Bodleian libraries, Oxford
1472: Pentateuch (Ferrara).
Pentateuch ([Ferrara], 1472). Beginning of the book of Genesis with red & blue & purple illuminated decorations with the image of the unicorn in the lap of the Virgin (symbol of the incarnation). from the Bodleian libraries, Oxford
1500: Initials in the Book of Hours from Delft
Alternated blue & red Initials in the copyrighted Book of Hours from Delft (Netherlands), second quarter of the fifteenth century. from the Bodleian libraries, Oxford
1500: Nicholas of Lyra
Nicholas of Lyra, Commentary on Ezekiel: Temple diagram (Paris, c. 1500). completely in red & blue colours including a red & blue alternated title line from the Bodleian libraries, Oxford