Exhibitions/ Art Object

Hebrew Bible: Artist’s Colophon and Arms of Castile-León (fols. 448v-449)

Illuminated by Joseph the Frenchman
Made in Spain
Tempera, gold, and ink on parchment
Overall: 11 7/16 x 8 7/8 x 3 15/16 in., 9.464lb. (29 x 22.5 x 10 cm, 4.293kg)
Manuscripts and Illuminations
Credit Line:
Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, Lisbon (BNP, IL.72)
Not on view
Few medieval manuscripts mention the name of the artist responsible for their decoration, but this bible devotes an entire page to the signature of the illuminator. Playfully transforming the Hebrew letters into images of intertwined animals, he writes, "I, Joseph the Frenchman, illustrated and completed this book."
The right-hand page, which concludes the grammatical compendium that accompanies the sacred text, displays a pair of six-pointed stars enclosing a lion and a castle—the respective symbols of the northern Spanish kingdoms of Leon and Castile, where the patron may have lived.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Lisbon's Hebrew Bible: Medieval Jewish Art in Context," November 22, 2011–January 16, 2012.