INITIAL OPENING TEXT OF 1 SAMUEL.

(Paris(?): late 13th century). 185 x 125 mm. (7 1/4 x 5"). Double column, 48 lines in a lovely pearl script.

Rubrics in red, running titles in red and blue, one eight-line puzzle initial in red and blue with penwork inside the initial and extending into the margins, ONE EIGHT-LINE HISTORIATED "F" featuring Elkanah at a table with his two wives and children, the extender in multiple colors and reaching to the bottom of the columns. Several marginal corrections in a distinct hand. Slight wrinkling to the very thin vellum, but A VERY FINE LEAF IN PRISTINE CONDITION.

This beautifully preserved leaf, with paint exceptionally fresh and margins clean and wide, boasts an excellent historiated initial with fine details and composition. The biblical narrative portrayed here is the story of Elkanah and his two wives: the barren Hannah and the fruitful Peninnah. Hannah's prayers for a son are eventually answered and she becomes pregnant with the prophet Samuel. Our initial portrays a moment before Samuel's birth, with Elkanah in the middle flanked by his two wives. To the right, Peninnah hold four children in her arms while Hannah, on the left, is childless and dressed all in white (perhaps about to go pray at the temple?). In addition to the excellent molding of the faces the artist also cleverly hints at the family dynamics through the physicality of the main characters. Tension between the wives is suggested by their physical distance, with Peninnah's head tilted down, towards her children, and Hannah's face lifted upward towards the destination of her hopes and prayers. Meanwhile, Elkanah, although closer to Peninnah and his children in the picture plane, is entirely focused on his preferred wife, Hannah. Thus, in a very small space, the artist gives us a fully fleshed out scene that provides a lovely space to rest the eye and invites further contemplation by the viewer.
(ST15081)

Keywords: Historiated