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Opening for the Book of Jeremiah: Verba Jeremie, from the Winchester Bible


Not on view

The prologue to Jeremiah opens with a large historiated (narrative) initial “V,” for Verba Jeremie (“The words of Jeremiah”). Here the prophet is shown reeling in fear at a message from God: “And the Lord put forth his hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me: Behold, I have given my words in thy mouth.”

The figures’ long twisting forms, direct eye contact, and agitated drapery style make this illumination one of the most riveting in the Bible. The artist, the Master of the Leaping Figures, infused his paintings with lively freedom and expressive movement. His distinctive clinging drapery forms have antecedents in earlier English illumination. He was the earliest master working on the Bible and seems to have designed forty initials, fully completing seven and collaborating on others.

Opening for the Book of Jeremiah: Verba Jeremie, from the Winchester Bible, Tempera and gold leaf on parchment, British

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