Leaves of Gold: Treasures of Manuscript Illumination fron Philadelphia Collections
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  Page from a Bible  
Northern France, probably Paris, c. 125060

Historiated Initial L with the Tree of Jesse. This "pocket" Bible was probably made in Paris for a university student. Biblical history and theology were core subjects at the University of Paris, and every student was required to own a Bible. The Gospel of Matthew begins with the letter L, here decorated with the Tree of Jesse. Jesse, an ancestor of Christ, lies sleeping while a vine enclosing three crowned figures sprouts from his feet. This scene illustrates Isaiah's prophecy, "And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root."

Swarthmore College Libraries, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, Treasure MS BS 75 1200z, fol. 446

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Leaves of Gold is a collaborative exhibition organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries. All materials on this site are copyright 2001 the Philadelphia Museum of Art except as indicated herein.