(French, Paris, active 1288–1300)
Ink, tempera, and gold on vellum
Sheet: 10.5 x 8 cm (4 1/8 x 3 1/8 in.)
Gift from J. H. Wade 1924.428
This initial comes from a large bible (about 23 inches in height) and introduces the opening text of the Book of Esdras: Et fecit Josias in Jerosolymis Domino... (When Josiah celebrated the Passover festival in Jerusalem to his Lord...). The artist, a close follower of Master Honoré at Paris, set his figure against a diapered ground of alternating gold and blue diamonds with fleur-de-lys. Instead of portraying Josiah as a Jew, however, the artist abandoned historical perspective and painted him as a Christian priest sprinkling (aspersing) the altar with holy water in preparation for the Mass.
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