Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Salterio Di Santa Elisabetta. Facsimile del Ms. CXXXVII del Museo Archeologico Nazionale Di Cividale del Friuli

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Salterio Di Santa Elisabetta. Facsimile del Ms. CXXXVII del Museo Archeologico Nazionale Di Cividale del Friuli

Article excerpt

Salterio di Santa Elisabetta. Facsimile del ms. CXXXVII del Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Cividale del Friuli, ed. Claudio Barberi (Udine: Ministero per i Beni e le Attivita Culturali, Soprintendenza regionale per i Beni e le Attivita

Culturali Friuli Venezia Giulia). 319 pp.; colour facsimile 356 pp.; CD-Rom. 'It is in no way to depart from the realm of the possible to picture St Elisabeth sitting in her chamber at the Wartburg devoutly engrossed in the miniatures of this manuscript.' What Kurt Loffler wrote in 1925 in the introduction to a selection of plates from the Landgrafenpsalter is even more true of this facsimile edition of the Psalter of St Elisabeth, the glorious psalter executed by artists of the Hildesheim school at the beginning of the thirteenth century for Hermann I, Landgrave of Thuringia, and his second wife Sophia of Wittelsbach. Latin prayers added on the blank leaves at the end of the calendar have been personalized for the private use of Hermann and Sophia ('In presencia corporis et sanguinis tui domine ihesu christe commendo famulum tuum Hermannum'; 'me quoque peccatricem exaudi pro seruo tuo Hermanno ... et dimitte ei omnia peccata'). This is Hermann of Thuringia, the patron of Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival and Walther von der Vogelweide. The landgrave's eldest son, Ludwig IV, was married in 1221 to the Hungarian princess now better known as St Elisabeth of Thuringia, and it seems likely that the manuscript may have been passed on to her, and through her to her uncle Berthold of Andechs, Patriarch of Aquileia (d. 1251), and into the collection of the cathedral chapter of Cividale del Fiumi, where it is now ms. CXXXVII. The psalter, which stands at the beginning of a line of luxury psalters made for German women, is one of the most sumptuous books of the early Gothic period in Germany, with remarkable calendar miniatures, three double-page spreads containing a cycle of twelve miniatures with scenes from the Annunciation to Pentecost, a full-page 'Beatus vir' initial enclosing scenes of hunting and knightly combat, eleven pages of biblical or Marian miniatures marking subdivisions of the Psalter, richly illustrated Canticles, prayers, and litany, culminating in an unusual miniature depicting the active and the contemplative life setting out the life alternatives for the female owner. …

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