Leaf from a Psalter:
The Crucifixion, about 1300-30
South Netherlands, Liège
Ink, tempera, and gold on vellum
The Jeanne Miles Blackburn Collection [Cat. no. 14]
The diocese of Liège was extremely active as a production center for psalters and psalter-hours from about 1250 through about 1330. This market was stimulated by the need of women for a devotional text that served their requirements. As women were drawn to the convents of orders such as the Dominicans, the Beguines and Begards, and the Poor Clares, they needed a book that would provide them with suitable reading material. The psalter was the book that these women, many of whom were high-born, most commonly used. The present leaf, with its monumental miniature of the Crucifixion, may have thus provided visual focus for the prayers of a woman in a convent. The level of quality and the extent to which these books were decorated usually depended upon the means of the patron.