Nov 3, 2016

Initial E from a Municipal Law Book: The Last Judgment

Initial E from a Municipal Law Book: The Last Judgment

c. 1330

Ink, tempera, and gold on parchment

Sheet: 21.3 x 18.2 cm (8 3/8 x 7 3/16 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1953.637


Did you know?

Christ sits on a tricolored rainbow, the three colors symbolize the Trinity: the father, the son (Jesus Christ), and the holy spirit.


This initial E serves as a frame for the figure of Christ, shown here as the judge of the world with the swords of justice emanating from his mouth. Above, two angels emerge from the heavenly realm to announce the final judgment of humankind, while below, the dead rise from their graves. The image provides a visual message of justice, retribution, and accountability, and shows the connection between secular and religious themes during the Middle Ages. Regensburg on the Danube, one of the most important cities in southern Germany in the Middle Ages, was also affected by the plague, although little is known about it from written sources.

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