Leaves of Gold: Treasures of Manuscript Illumination fron Philadelphia Collections
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Nuns' Prayer Book
Germany, Cologne, c. 1450

Historiated Initial D with the Ecstasy of Mary Magdalene. This small prayer book was used by nuns of the Order of Saint Mary Magdalene, probably in Cologne. Depicted with long blonde hair, Mary Magdalene reaches toward an angel in the opening initial of the book. The style of the initial—with its flat forms, ropelike hair, and disparities of scale and space—is related to Nonnenarbeit (nuns' work).

University of Pennsylvania, The Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Philadelphia, MS Codex 141, fol. 1

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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.