Leaves of Gold: Treasures of Manuscript Illumination fron Philadelphia Collections
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BIBLES: Introduction | Gallery Guide
BOOKS OF HOURS: Introduction | Gallery Guide
PSALTERS: Introduction | Gallery Guide
LITURGICAL: Introduction | Gallery Guide
LITERARY: Introduction | Gallery Guide

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  Page from a bible  
Italy, Padua or Venice, c. 126080

Historiated Initial I with King Cyrus as Builder. The region around Padua and Venice was a major book-production center and home to several universities in medieval times. The pages of this Italian Bible are embellished with inventive initials and pen flourishes. The Book of Esdras (Ezra) begins with the letter I, here illustrated by a tower and a series of steps that invite the viewer to enter the scene. King Cyrus of Persia stands at the top of the tower, supervising two masons at work on the Temple of Jerusalem.

The Free Library of Philadelphia, Rare Book Department, Lewis E 36, fol. 126

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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.