Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Manuscript Illumination with the Annunciation in an Initial R, from a Gradual

ca. 1300
Made in Lake Constance, Switzerland
Upper Rhenish
Tempera, ink and gold on parchment
4 x 3 1/16in. (10.2 x 7.8cm)
Mat: 9 × 7 in. (22.9 × 17.8 cm)
Manuscripts and Illuminations
Credit Line:
Purchase, Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, by exchange, 1982
Accession Number:
Not on view
Here, the letter “R” opens the Introit, or entrance hymn, “Rorate caeli de super” (Drop down dew, you heavens, from above), sung on the Feast of the Annunciation. This feast day was one of the most important in the Church calendar, celebrating the Archangel Gabriel’s announcement to the Virgin Mary that she would be the mother of Jesus. That moment is exquisitely illustrated on this leaf, which was cut from a Dominican choir book. Probably painted by the nuns of the convent of Sankt Katharinenthal, the figures of the Archangel and the Virgin are pictured against a burnished gold background. The Virgin lifts both hands as the dove of the Holy Ghost whispers in her ear. The detailed refinement of the figures’ faces, the elongated sway of their bodies, and the intimate scale of the scene are characteristic of a number of related cuttings, all thought to come from the same manuscript.
L. Salavin, Paris (sold 1982)]; [his sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris (April 22, 1982, lot 267)]; Mrs. Anne Otto Wertheimer, Paris (sold 1982); [her sale, Nouveau Drouot, Paris ( April 22, 1982, lot 267)]
Bonn, Germany. Kunst-und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. "Krone und Schleier: Kunst aus mittelalterlichen Fraunklöstern," March 18, 2005–July 3, 2005.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Notable Acquisitions, 1981-1982 (Metropolitan Museum of Art) (1982). p. 19.

Kleinbauer, Walter Eugene. "Recent Major Acquisitions of Medieval Art by American Museums." Gesta 22, no. 2 (1983). p. 172, fig. 5.

Parker, Elizabeth C. "Recent Major Acquisitions of Medieval Art by American Museums." Gesta 24, no. 4 (1985). p. 172, fig. 15.

Wixom, William D., ed. Mirror of the Medieval World. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1999. no. 155, pp. 132–33.

Gertsman, Elina. Worlds Within: Opening the Medieval Shrine Madonna. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2015. p. 59, fig. 45.

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